BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Millar isn't complaining anymore about Terry
Francona's frequently changing lineups.
"I made a mistake" and had a "great" talk with Francona,
Millar said. "The people in this clubhouse know that I'm not
selfish. I want to contribute and help this team win."
And he's been doing that after struggling most of the season.
In his last 19 games, Millar is 31-for-66 (.470) with 18 runs,
seven homers and 21 RBI to increase his batting average from .269
to .306. He had just five homers and 25 RBI in his first 85 games.
"The whole first two months or so I kept saying and I kept
repeating that we need to stay with him because he would help us,"
Francona said. "We are reaping the benefits of it."
Boston scored five runs in both the second and third innings for
a 13-1 lead and cruised to its fourth win in five games. Tampa Bay
lost for the 11th time in 12 road games.
"The clubs are good that we're playing," Tampa Bay manager Lou
Piniella said. "We have young pitching and they have veteran
hitters. That's a bad combination."
Derek Lowe (10-10) benefited from Boston's 15-hit attack and
left with a blister on his pitching thumb with two outs in the
sixth and the score 13-3. He allowed nine hits with four strikeouts
and one walk. The Red Sox have scored nine runs or more in eight of
his wins and matched their season high of 14 runs.
"We can talk about the thumb until the cows come home, but we
won," said Lowe, who has been plagued by such blisters this year.
"Their pitcher was having a phenomenal year and to score that many
runs off him should get everyone confident."
Making his first career appearance against Boston, Dewon
Brazelton (4-4) had the worst outing of his 13 starts this season,
allowing eight runs -- seven earned -- in 1 2-3 innings. Going into
the game, his 2.56 ERA since June 1 was the second best in the AL.
"Sometimes, as a pitcher, it gets rolling and you can't get it
stopped," he said.
Millar went 4-for-4 with two singles, a double and a three-run
homer, tying his career high of four hits. He left for pinch-runner
Gabe Kapler after doubling in the fifth.
"It's been a tough year, mentally, but I'll be stronger,"
David Ortiz drove in two runs, giving him 100 for the second
straight season and leaving him one short of his career high.
Boston came right back on Millar's 12th homer of the year in the
first after Damon singled and Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch.
The Red Sox batted around in the next two innings.
They loaded the bases with no outs in the second when Bill
Mueller singled, Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch and Damon
walked. Then Doug Mientkiewicz got an RBI single and Ortiz hit a
sacrifice fly for a 5-1 lead.
Millar singled to center for one RBI, and another run scored
when Rocco Baldelli booted the ball for an error. Varitek then
doubled home a run.
Mueller also led off the five-run third with a single, Youkilis
singled and Damon hit a two-run double. A walk to Ortiz and a
single by Millar loaded the bases and Varitek cleared them with
Ortiz doubled in the last run in the seventh.<
^Notes:@Boston has scored at least eighth runs in 30 of its 62 wins.
... SS Orlando Cabrera made the last out for Boston in each of the
first three innings. ... Brazelton had allowed a total of six
earned runs in his previous five starts. ... Millar and
Mientkiewicz each tied career highs with three runs.