Wakefield moves past Cy Young on Sox K list

BOSTON (AP) -- Tim Wakefield outdid the legendary Cy Young and the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays on the same day.

The knuckleballer passed Young on Boston's career strikeout list during his third straight strong start, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 win Sunday as the Devil Rays failed to get a hit for the last seven innings.

With 1,343 strikeouts, two more than Young, Wakefield trails only Roger Clemens (2,590) and Pedro Martinez (1,596) in the team's record book.

"It means a lot to me," said Wakefield, whose knuckleball is far different from the fastballs of Clemens and Martinez. "I'm very fortunate to be here for such a long period of time to reach those milestones."

He's in his 11th season with the Red Sox, rare in an era when free-agent contracts lure players to new teams all the time. Like retired knuckleballers Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro, who pitched successfully into their 40s, the 38-year-old Wakefield thinks his best days might be ahead.

"I feel great health-wise," he said. "My arm doesn't bother me. My legs are fine."

Wakefield (2-0) struck out five and allowed one run and four hits in six innings. Boston completed a three-game sweep in which it outscored Tampa Bay 19-3.

The Red Sox won their fourth consecutive game, scoring only in the third inning off Scott Kazmir (0-1) on Edgar Renteria's second homer with Boston and Jay Payton's two-run single after singles by David Ortiz and Kevin Millar.

"That ball was crushed," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, referring to Renteria's homer. "That was a Manny (Ramirez) swing."

Kazmir threw 97 pitches in five innings. He got little support from a team that hasn't come close to a winning record in its seven seasons.

"You want to go later in the game, but it's not going to happen when, in the beginning of the game, you can't find your control," Kazmir said. "On first-pitch strikes, I was eight out of 25. That's horrible."

Kazmir, the second-youngest player in the majors at 21, allowed six hits, walked four and struck out three.

Wakefield allowed four hits in the first two innings, including Carl Crawford's RBI single in the second, and then held Tampa Bay hitless for four innings before being replaced by Matt Mantei. Alan Embree retired his four batters and Keith Foulke pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

Foulke had struggled in most of his outings this season.

"He looked like he felt really good," Francona said.

In the first two games of the series, David Wells pitched seven innings in a 10-0 win Friday night and Matt Clement went seven in a 6-2 victory Saturday night.

In his other two starts, Wakefield allowed two earned runs in six innings but didn't get a decision in a 7-3 win at Yankee Stadium on April 6 and no earned runs in seven innings in an 8-1 victory over the Yankees in Boston five days later.

Wakefield is 10-0 against the Devil Rays since they beat him April 16, 1999, in Boston. He also passed Bob Stanley for seventh place in team history with 116 wins.

He struggled in the first when Crawford led off with a double and went to third on a single by Julio Lugo, who stole second. But Wakefield retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts.

"We had some chances, especially in the first inning," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "We didn't do it. It would set the tone a little bit, put a couple of runs on the board."

The Devil Rays took a 1-0 lead in the second on a leadoff double by Travis Lee, a fly out that sent him to third and a single by Crawford. But in the next four innings, the only two Tampa Bay runners reached on walks.

Boston left the bases loaded in the first when Johnny Damon, Ortiz and Millar walked but Payton fanned for the final out.

Game notes
Boston has not allowed a homer or committed an error in its last four games. ... Damon reached base for the 10th consecutive game. ... The Devil Rays' .283 batting average entering the game was the second-best in the AL. It dropped to .273. ... Jorge Cantu's hitting streak ended at 11 games, the first time this season he failed to get a hit for Tampa Bay.