BOSTON (AP) -- Scott Kazmir had a cool confidence in a tough
environment for baseball's youngest pitcher and a sense of wonder
that he had succeeded in it.
The 20-year-old rookie struck out a career-high nine in six
shutout innings to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays over Pedro
Martinez and the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Tuesday night."I don't even know how to explain it. I want to," said the
left-hander, who began the season in Class A. "Wow. It's been a
crazy year."Kazmir (2-1) allowed three hits and three walks against the
highest-scoring team in baseball to defeat Martinez, who had been
9-1 at Fenway Park."He did himself proud," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.
"Not only Fenway, but against a really good Red Sox team, against
a legend out there in Pedro. It's impressive."The Red Sox absorbed consecutive losses for the first time in
more than five weeks and had a season-high 16 straight shutout
innings before Trot Nixon hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the
eighth off Travis Harper.Boston dropped four games behind the AL East-leading Yankees,
its largest deficit since before play on Aug. 31. The Red Sox, who
start a three-game series in New York on Friday, had not lost
back-to-back games since Aug. 4 at Tampa Bay and Aug. 6 at Detroit."It's not disappointing," Nixon said of the setbacks.
"There's nothing guaranteed in this game."The Red Sox are 16-4 in their last 20 games with three of the
losses against rookie pitchers they'd never faced before."I figured it would be tough because the Red Sox had never seen
Kazmir and he's a left-hander," said Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford,
who led off the game with a homer. "Against Pedro, you know it's
going to be hard to get runs so it's nice to start the game with a
homer.""Hopefully, we won't have to face another rookie," said
Martinez, who allowed just three hits in six innings, two of them
solo homers by Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. But he walked five
batters for just the 11th time in his career.Kazmir, a highly regarded prospect acquired from the New York
Mets on July 30 for Victor Zambrano, doesn't turn 21 until Jan. 24.
He made his fourth major league start Tuesday and struck five
straight batters in one stretch."In the fifth inning, I'm taking warmup pitches and I stopped
and said, `is this really happening? Am I really pitching against
Pedro at Fenway?" said Kazmir, a Houston high schooler when he
was taken with the 15th draft pick in 2002.Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his 16th straight save and 27th
in 29 chances.Martinez (16-6) struck out 10 and allowed three hits."It's a great outing," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
"He gave up two homers, but nobody was on base."The Devil Rays won their third straight game after losing 12 in
a row, but it was a disappointing homecoming for the Red Sox. They
were 5-2 on the trip that ended Sunday with a 2-0 loss at Seattle
and began with a three-game sweep in Oakland.Martinez struggled in the first inning, allowing Crawford's
ninth homer of the year and walks to Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff
before retiring a batter. He gave up just two hits the rest of the
way: Baldelli's 13th homer in the third and Toby Hall's single in
the sixth.Tampa Bay made it 4-0 in the seventh on RBI singles by Huff off
Alan Embree and Jose Cruz Jr. off Mike Timlin. Huff hit an RBI
grounder in the eighth.Boston threatened in the fifth with no outs on a double by Kevin
Millar and a walk to Orlando Cabrera. But Kevin Youkilis struck
out, Gabe Kapler fouled out and Kazmir picked Millar off second.
Boston has been shut out just three times this year. ...
Youkilis took over in the fifth at third base from Mueller, who
left with a sore right knee. ... Boston's Mark Bellhorn was 0-for-4
with four strikeouts. Tampa Bay's Jose Cruz Jr. was 1-for-5 with