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Former closer first to win 20 after saving 20

BOSTON (AP) -- Derek Lowe came into the season hoping to make up
for his flop as a reliever last year.

He figured 10 wins would be good; 15 would be great.

He undersold himself on both counts.

A year after washing out as a closer and being demoted into the
starting rotation, Lowe won his 20th game for Boston as the Red Sox
beat the Orioles 6-4 Saturday with two homers by Manny Ramirez.

"To win 20 games in 30 starts, I've probably exceeded what I
expected of myself,'' the former All-Star closer said.

And his manager, too.

"We figured the kid was going to keep us in a lot of
ballgames,'' Boston's Grady Little said. "But to be able to win 20
games is outstanding.''

Lowe (20-7) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, striking
out seven in seven innings to bolster his case for a Cy Young
Award. The top competition is from Oakland's Barry Zito, who is
21-5, and Red Sox teammate Pedro Martinez, who's 18-4 and leads the
league in earned-run average, strikeouts and opponents' batting average.

"I went to bed last night and Zito had a no-hitter through six.
So you put that out of your mind,'' Lowe said. "I want everybody
to pitch good ... and when the season's all done, it will be a
close race.''

Lowe, who pitched the only no-hitter in the majors this year, is
the first pitcher in baseball history to win 20 games the season
after saving 20. He is also the first to record at least 40 saves
and later win 20; John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley did it the other
way around.

"I congratulate him on winning 20,'' Baltimore manager Mike
Hargrove said. "That is not an easy feat.''

Pat Hentgen (0-2), a former Cy Young and 20-game winner himself,
could not make it out of the fifth inning for Baltimore, which has
lost 19 of its last 21 games. Hentgen gave up six runs on 10 hits
and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.

The Orioles have not finished above .500 since 1997; four
straight losing seasons was already a franchise record.

Ugueth Urbina earned his 35th save, getting the last
three outs after Tony Batista and Jay Gibbons hit back-to-back
doubles to lead off the ninth to make it 6-3. Larry Bigbie hit an
RBI single off Urbina with one out in the inning.

The Red Sox still trail the Yankees by 8 games in the AL East
with only 15 games remaining.

Lowe was an All-Star closer while saving 42 games in 2000, but
he struggled last year and was demoted into the starting rotation
as a last resort. He showed the wisdom of the move when he no-hit
Tampa Bay on April 27 -- the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since
1965.

"You love to do anything special at home,'' said Lowe, who will
make his last two starts on the road. "I felt like I had an
opportunity to do something very special. It really has been a fun
year.''

He wasn't unhittable on Saturday, but he was good enough to beat
the struggling Orioles.

Chris Singleton singled, stole second, took third when catcher
Jason Varitek threw the ball into center field, and scored on Chris
Richard's RBI groundout to make it 1-0 after one.

But Ramirez homered to lead off the second and tie it. Cliff
Floyd followed with a double, Brian Daubach walked and Varitek
singled home Floyd before Daubach scored on a double play to make
it 3-1.

Jeff Conine's single scored Batista, who had three hits, in the
fourth to make it 3-2.

Boston chased Hentgen in the fifth when Ramirez hit another solo
homer, this one with two outs. Floyd followed with his third hit of
the game, Daubach doubled and Varitek walked to load the bases.

Trot Nixon singled to drive in two runs and make it 6-2 before
Travis Driskill got Rey Sanchez on a fielder's choice to end the
inning.

Game notes
Ramirez has homered in five of his last eight games. He had
his seventh mulithomer game of the season and the 34th of his
career. That's second best in Red Sox history, tying Jim Rice.
Jimmie Foxx had 10 multihomer games in 1938. ... Lowe is the first
Red Sox pitcher to win 20 games other than Martinez or Roger
Clemens since Eckersley in 1978. ... Lowe is the first Red Sox
pitcher to win 20 games and pitch a no-hitter since Howard Ehmke in
1923. Cy Young did it twice (1904 and 1908), and Smoky Joe Wood
(1911) and Jesse Tannehill (1904) also turned the trick. ... The
Red Sox will induct RHP Tex Hughson and OF Duffy Lewis into the
team's hall of fame. Lewis played on three World Series champions --
1912, 1915 and 1916 -- but is better known for "Duffy's Cliff,''
the steep incline in left field at Fenway Park from 1912-1917. ...
32 of Garciaparra's 50 doubles have come with men on base. Batista
had 34 multihit games this season. ... Conine is hitting .342 in
his last 31 games and .429 in his last five. ... The Orioles went
six years without a winning record after joining the league in
1954. They went .500 in 1957. ... Baltimore has given up 10 or more
hits 13 times in the last 21 games.