Lowe allows just two hits against hot Rangers


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Derek Lowe was nearly unhittable.

Lowe allowed two hits in seven innings to become the AL's second 15-game winner as the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 13-0 Friday night.

``He's spoiled us a lot this year,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. ``You have to bring your A-game against (the Rangers), and Derek certainly had his tonight. It was fun to watch.''

Trot Nixon hit a three-run homer and a two-run shot, tying his
career high with five RBI. Brian Daubach also had a two-run homer
for the Red Sox, who recovered from a 19-7 loss to Texas on Thursday night.

The Rangers, who scored 36 runs the previous two days, were held hitless until the fifth. Lowe (15-5) struck out four and walked one, stretching his scoreless streak to 24 innings.

``It was a big game,'' Lowe said. ``After last night, we wanted to put up as many zeros as we could early. I mixed my sinker in and out. It's been a phenomenal year so far. I can't say I expected this, but all the hard work has paid off.''

Oakland's Barry Zito was the first AL pitcher to win 15 games
this season.

Johnny Damon also homered for Boston.

Lowe retired 14 of the first 15 Rangers -- Alex Rodriguez was hit
by a pitch with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander got 10 on
grounders before Carl Everett's two-out single in the fifth. Lowe
finished with 14 groundball outs and lowered his league-leading ERA
to 2.13.

``He was very efficient,'' Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. ``He kept the ball down and had a great sinker. He was in control. We faced a great pitcher tonight.''

Kevin Mench's sixth-inning single was the Rangers' only other hit off Lowe.

Alan Embree and Bob Howry each pitched a scoreless inning to
finish the three-hitter, Boston's major league-leading 15th shutout
of the season.

Texas has been blanked six times this year. The Rangers had gone
213 home games since they were last shut out, a stretch dating to
April 8, 2000, when they were blanked by Toronto's David Wells.

``You know to look for pitches that are up, but his are always down,'' Frank Catalanotto said of Lowe. ``That's why he gets so many groundball outs and why he's having the year he's having.''

Damon led off the first with a double against Ismael Valdes
(5-8), and Nixon followed with his first homer of the night.

Boston made it 4-0 in the second when Shea Hillenbrand tripled
off the glove of center fielder Todd Hollandsworth and Daubach hit
his 16th homer. Hollandsworth misjudged the ball, coming in before
realizing it was over his head.

Damon's ninth homer in the seventh stretched Boston's lead to 5-0.

Valdes, bothered recently by a blister and a sore left knee, allowed five runs and six hits over seven innings.

``I felt great,'' Valdes said. ``But we faced a very good pitcher and a very good team. They were hitting some good pitches early so I had to make some adjustments.''

The Red Sox broke the game open with a seven-run eighth inning.
Hillenbrand's RBI single and Rey Sanchez's two-run single off Jay
Powell pushed the lead to 8-0.

Later in the inning, first baseman Mike Lamb's throwing error on
Damon's grounder allowed another run to score. Nixon followed with
a three-run shot, his 17th, to make it 12-0.

Game notes
Nixon had his fourth career multihomer game. ... Powell
failed to get an out in six batters. Five of Boston's seven runs in
the eighth were unearned due to Lamb's error. ... Plate umpire Jeff
Kellogg warned both dugouts after Valdes hit Sanchez with a pitch
leading off the fifth. Lowe plunked Rodriguez in the fourth. ...
Lowe, Pedro Martinez and John Burkett are a combined 36-4 against
AL teams this season. ... LHP Dennys Reyes made his Rangers debut in the eighth after being acquired in a trade with Colorado on Wednesday. Reyes is the 25th pitcher used by Texas this season, tying the club record set in 1992 and 2001.