Series: Game 3 of 3

Boston won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, August 30
Boston 15Final
Cleveland 5
Game 2: Saturday, August 31
Boston 7Final
Cleveland 8
Game 3: Sunday, September 1
Boston 7Final
Cleveland 1

Red Sox 7

(76-58, 41-26 away)

Indians 1

(59-76, 34-37 home)

    1:05 PM ET, September 1, 2002

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    BOS 410200000 7 - -
    CLE 000010000 1 - -

    W: T. Wakefield (8-5)

    L: C. Nagy (1-4)

    Ramirez, Daubach and Co. pace Red Rox

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Johnny Damon knows the Boston Red Sox must start winning consistently to earn a playoff spot.

    Brian Daubach

    Manny Ramirez

    Damon had three hits and scored three runs for the wild-card chasing Red Sox, who got consecutive home runs from Manny Ramirez and Brian Daubach in Sunday's 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.

    ''I told this team Friday that now is the time to go and I'm ready to accept the responsibility for doing it,'' said Damon, who went 7-for-13 in the three-game series. ''I feel good. I want to get back to the playoffs.''

    Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings, Ramirez drove in three runs and Shea Hillenbrand had two RBI for Boston, which won for just the third time in eight games.

    The Red Sox are 23-25 since the All-Star break.

    ''We've got a lot to do in a short period of time,'' manager Grady Little said. ''We've got no time to waste. We want this to carry right in to New York.''

    The Red Sox open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday.

    Wakefield (8-5) did not allow a hit until Matt Lawton led off the fifth inning with his 15th homer to make it 7-1.

    ''He made us chase a lot of pitches out of the strike zone,'' Lawton said. ''He didn't leave many pitches up high.''

    The knuckleballer gave up three hits, walked two and struck out six to win for the fifth time in seven starts since July 23.

    ''Tim Wakefield is awesome,'' Damon said. ''He starts, pitches long relief, closes games. Some fans don't realize he's very valuable.''

    He finally got some run support, too. After getting three runs total in his previous three starts, Wakefield was staked to a 7-0 lead.

    Ramirez and Daubach went deep as the Red Sox scored four times in the first inning against Charles Nagy (1-4).

    ''We came out swinging,'' Little said. ''Some found some holes, some found the other side of the fence.''

    Damon led off with a single, went to third on a double by Hillenbrand and scored on Nomar Garciaparra's groundout.

    Ramirez hit a 1-0 pitch into the Indians' bullpen in center for his 25th homer. Daubach followed with his 18th homer to right.

    ''We should do this every day,'' Daubach said. ''Johnny and Shea got us going. When you score early, everybody relaxes. Hitting is contagious, just as when you struggle. Hopefully, this offense will stay in gear for a good stretch.''

    Damon made it 5-0 in the second when he doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Hillenbrand.

    Nagy then threw one pitch to Ramirez, bent over in pain during his follow-through and was removed from the game with a right knee injury.

    Indians interim manager Joel Skinner said Nagy tore cartilage in his right knee Aug. 6 against Tampa Bay.

    ''It locked up on me in the bullpen before this game,'' Nagy said. ''I waited a couple of minutes and it felt better. This is the first time it has happened in a game. I've been trying to finish the season, but it is no fun to get beat around all the time.''

    The right-hander allowed five runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. He has been roughed up for 23 runs and 39 hits over 19 innings (10.89 ERA) in his past five starts.

    Hillenbrand hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Ramirez in the fourth for a 7-0 lead.

    The Indians loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Eddie Perez hit into a double play. The catcher has not driven in a run since hitting a three-run double in his first at-bat at Jacobs Field this season on April 13.

    Game notes

    Cleveland 1B Jim Thome got his 100th walk. He has walked 100 or more times in four straight seasons and six times in his career. ... Nagy made his 297th start, passing Hall of Famer Early Wynn for sixth place on Cleveland's career list. ... The Red Sox hit consecutive homers for the eighth time this season. ... Boston is 25-2 when Damon scores two or more runs and 71-47 when hitting at least one double. ... While Boston's first five hitters were 10-for-21, the last four were 0-for-14.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press