Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 7/2)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 1
in 11
Tampa Bay4
Game 2: Wednesday, July 2
Tampa Bay4
Game 3: Thursday, July 3
in 10
Tampa Bay6

Red Sox 5

(48-34, 20-22 away)

Devil Rays 4

(27-55, 16-27 home)

    7:15 PM ET, July 2, 2003

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    BOS 110100020 5 10 1
    TB 000030010 4 7 0

    W: P. Martinez (6-2)

    L: J. Colome (1-4)

    S: B. Kim (1)

    Kim records first save with Red Sox in win

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Pedro Martinez looks up and down the Boston Red Sox lineup and can't spot a weakness.

    Pedro Martinez

    Pedro Martinez's ERA ballooned to 3.90 last season.

    "This is a team nobody can take for granted. It's one of the best offensive teams in the league, if not the best," Martinez said after Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon and Kevin Miller homered Wednesday night in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    "It's just a matter of us holding the lead. They're going to put up some runs. I really don't see a hole in our team. The other team has be worried about our team until the last out is made. This team can pile up the runs in a heartbeat."

    Martinez pitched seven solid innings, despite blowing a three-run lead, and Boston's revamped bullpen did its job, too, as the second-place Red Sox won for the seventh time in nine games.

    Martinez (6-2) allowed three unearned runs and six hits. He struck out seven and moved ahead of Cy Young into second place on Boston's career strikeout list with 1,343.

    Roger Clemens is first on the Red Sox's all-time strikeout list with 2,590. Young had 1,341.

    "It's a testament to Petie. He's been great for so many years, obviously to be able to do that," Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. "That's special."

    Millar's two-run homer off Jesus Colome (1-4) snapped a 3-3 tie in the eighth. Millar has four homers, 10 hits and 10 RBI in 29 at-bats against Tampa Bay this season.

    Garciaparra and Nixon hit solo homers and Varitek added a RBI single to give Martinez a 3-0 lead. The Boston ace failed to hold it when he gave up a three-run homer to Aubrey Huff in the fifth.

    Alan Embree pitched the eighth for the Red Sox, allowing Rocco Baldelli's triple and Huff's sacrifice fly that trimmed Boston's lead to 5-4.

    Byung-Hyun Kim pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first save since being moved from Red Sox's starting rotation to the bullpen in the closer's role.

    "We gave up a run there in the eighth, but I thought Embree and Kim both threw the ball very well. That's what we need," Red Sox manager Grady Little said. "We've got a club that's going to get some leads. We've just got to nail them down."

    For the last-place Devil Rays, it was their 30th loss in a major league-leading 50 games decided by one or two runs.

    "What can I say?" Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella asked.

    "I've said many times, we lose a lot of these games because we're inexperienced. ... A lot of these guys are learning on the job. I know it's frustrating, but that's how you learn. ... We battle, we compete, but we fall short. I can't fault my players, I really can't. They're giving us all they've got."

    Garciaparra hit his 13th homer with two outs in the first off Rob Bell. Nixon led off the second with his 11th of the season, and the Red Sox increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Nixon doubled and scored on Varitek's single.

    Martinez tied Young for second on Boston's career strikeout list when he fanned Marlon Anderson to end the fourth with runners at first and third. Martinez took sole possession of second place when he struck out Ben Grieve in the fifth.

    The Devil Rays also stranded runners in scoring position after Travis Lee doubled in the second and when Baldelli grounded into an inning-ending double play after Martinez allowed a walk and single in the third.

    They didn't waste their next opportunity, though, capitalizing on Garciaparra's fielding error that allowed Julio Lugo to reach base with one out in the fifth. Carl Crawford singled and one out later, Huff hit his 16th homer to wipe out Boston's three-run lead. ^Notes:@ Martinez is 9-2 lifetime against the Devil Rays, including 6-1 at Tropicana Field. ... Garciaparra is 6-for-9 lifetime against Bell with two home runs. ... Varitek has driven in 11 runs during his eight-game hitting streak. ... The Red Sox signed RHP Todd Jones, who was released last week by the Colorado Rockies, in a move to bolster the bullpen. RHP Hector Almonte was designated for assignment. ... The Devil Rays haven't won consecutive games since May 15-16 at Baltimore. That's a stretch of 41 games, longest in team history without back-to-back victories... Tampa Bay has been outhomered 54-25 at home, compared to 43-31 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press