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Trammell says BoSox are 'best team' he's seen

7/23/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- Another loss to the slugging Boston Red Sox
convinced Detroit manager Alan Trammell: He hasn't seen a better
team all season.

Derek Lowe pitched eight strong innings and Kevin Millar and
Jason Varitek hit back-to-back homers in the fourth as the Red Sox
beat the Tigers 7-4 Tuesday night.

"The best team that I've seen really has been Boston,"
Trammell said, "but we've only seen the Yankees for three games. I
don't know if that's quite enough, but I've been very impressed by
the Boston Red Sox."

They Red Sox lead the majors with a .295 batting average and had
three homers among their 11 hits Tuesday, the 61st time in 99 games
they've had at least 10.

They trail New York by 2½ games in the AL East with two games
against Tampa Bay before a three-game series at home against the
Yankees, whose game against Toronto was rained out Tuesday.

"We match up well with the Yankees always," Boston's Jason
Varitek said.

He singled in a run in the second then combined with Kevin
Millar for consecutive homers that made it 3-0 in the fifth against
Mike Maroth (5-14). It was the 17th homer of the season for both
and Millar's third in four games.

Bill Mueller also homered for Boston, which is 8-1 against the
Tigers this season, 6-0 at Fenway Park.

Lowe (11-4) gave up homers to Eric Munson and Dmitri Young but
allowed just four other hits and threw just 85 pitches. The
sinkerballer recorded 18 outs on grounders, struck out four and
walked none. Alan Embree gave up Carlos Pena's homer in the ninth.

"It was pretty much just sinkers away and changeups away,"
Lowe said. "Mechanically, it was the best I felt in a long time."

After the start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 20
minutes, Boston had another big offensive performance. In their
previous two games, the Red Sox beat Toronto 9-4 and Detroit 14-5.

"They have so many weapons up and down and I sense their role
players contribute and feel part of the team," Trammell said.

It was another struggle in a disastrous season for the Tigers,
who suffered their fifth consecutive loss and fell to 26-72, the
worst record in the majors. Those are the teams the Red Sox know
they must beat.

"You have to do that if you plan on playing deeper into the
season than everyone else," manager Grady Little said. "It
doesn't matter who you are playing. You have to play good baseball
to win."

Lowe retired 12 of 13 batters in the first four innings, giving
up just a single in the second to Kevin Witt.

Detroit reached him for two runs in the fifth on a triple by
Pena and Munson's 15th homer. But the Red Sox kept hitting.

Mueller led off the fifth with a double and scored on Nomar
Garciaparra's single. A single by Manny Ramirez and a walk to
Millar loaded the bases, and Garciaparra scored on Varitek's
double-play grounder for a 5-2 lead.

"You make a mistake and they are going to hurt you," Maroth
said.

Young matched his career high with his 21st homer of the season,
and second in two days, in the sixth, but the Red Sox came back
with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-3 lead on a
walk to Gabe Kapler and Mueller's 10th homer. That matched
Mueller's career high set with San Francisco in 2000.<
^Notes:@Ramirez went 2-for-4 and is 8-for-12 since an 0-for-14
slump. ... Detroit nearly executed a tripled play in the fifth on
Varitek's grounder. After the double-play was recorded, shortstop
Shane Halter fired to third baseman Munson, who nearly tagged
Ramirez before he could get back to the base. ... Before losing
Tuesday, Maroth was 4-2 after going 1-11. ... After scoring 17 runs
in six games, Boston has 30 in its last three.