BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox keep bashing the ball around Fenway Park, and now they're getting some pitching, too.
John Olerud homered twice to back a solid performance by Bronson Arroyo on Thursday night and the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 7-4 to complete a four-game sweep. It was the third consecutive game that Boston has rallied from an early deficit to beat the Devil Rays."I love the way it ends," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I'd like the formula to change a little bit."It was the 17th career multihomer game for Olerud, who added a run-scoring double in the eighth to give him six RBI on the night. The two-time All-Star and former AL batting champ has been competing for playing time with Kevin Millar, who homered twice on Wednesday."When you get some hits and you contribute to a team's win, it definitely makes you feel like you're part of the club," said Olerud, who signed with the Red Sox in May but has hit .467 since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 17. "I felt like I was going to fit in."With the Yankees' 5-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners earlier
Thursday, Boston moved 3½ games ahead of New York in the AL East. The Red Sox led by as many as 5½ and as few as 1½ games in August.The Red Sox have won five in a row overall and 19 of 20 at home. They've also scored at least seven runs in each of their last 14 games at Fenway Park. But they've needed almost all of them -- in nine of those games, they've given up six runs or more.Boston rallied from a 5-0 deficit on Tuesday and trailed 5-1 on Wednesday before winning both games 7-6. The Red Sox trailed 2-0 and 4-2 on Thursday night before scoring one in the fifth, and then Olerud hit a three-run shot in the sixth to give Boston its first lead of the game.Arroyo (11-9) allowed four runs and nine hits. He struck out six in seven innings for his first win since Aug. 10."I just tried to stay focused, thinking about [Tim] Wakefield last night being able to come back from a five-run deficit and get a win," Arroyo said. "It's been like that for us for a while. The starting pitching hasn't locked it down like it did earlier in the year, so I just tried to hang in there."Jonathan Papelbon worked a scoreless eighth before giving up consecutive singles to start the ninth. Mike Timlin got three outs for his fifth save.Doug Waechter (5-9) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings."The last three games have all been carbon copies of themselves in a way. We took the lead and they came back. They added [runs], and for the most part we didn't," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said."It's good, professional hitting, and that's what they have over there. They have a ton of it. Look at their bench. Their bench could play regularly on a lot of clubs. Thank God we don't come in here any more," he said.When Waechter departed with one out in the seventh, the Devil Rays set a major-league record by going 135 games into the season without a complete game.Jonny Gomes homered in the second to give the Devil Rays a 2-0 lead, but Olerud matched the two-run shot in the bottom half. Tampa Bay went up 4-2 in the fourth on Travis Lee's two-run homer.Edgar Renteria hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one run in the fifth. In the sixth, Trot Nixon hit a leadoff single, Jason Varitek walked and, one out later, Olerud hit his fifth homer of the season.
After the game, the Red Sox named Lenny DiNardo as Friday's starter. ... Manny Ramirez sat out because Francona said his legs looked tired. ... Tampa Bay recalled right-hander Lance Carter from Triple-A Durham. ... Boston activated right-hander Keith Foulke from the 15-day disabled list; recalled infielder Alejandro Machado from Triple-A;
purchased the contract of left-hander Matt Perisho from Triple-A; and added right-hander Chad Harville to the active roster. ... Julio Lugo tried to steal second in the first inning -- just the third baserunner to try stealing against Arroyo. Only the Cubs' Corey Patterson has succeeded. ... Tampa Bay was swept for a club-record 13th time this season. ... Arroyo's 11 wins are a career high. ... The Red Sox are 26-26 against AL East foes.