Wakefield pitches BoSox past Nats to fifth straight win

BOSTON (AP) -- Livan Hernandez struggled through his shortest outing of the season, leaving him searching for answers.

Tim Wakefield pitched six strong innings to lead the Boston Red Sox to their fifth straight victory with an 11-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

While Wakefield cruised, Hernandez (5-8) left the game after 1 2/3 innings and watched his ERA soar to 5.64.

"I'm worried about him," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "This is the way he has been except for two or three starts this year and he has just not been consistent enough."

Hernandez gave up six runs and eight hits with two walks. He has given up 14 runs in his last three starts.

"They beat me bad," Hernandez said. "People have to understand that I can't be great every year. Boston is a great team and everybody knows that. My ERA is a little tough, but there is a lot of baseball left to be played."

Wakefield (5-8) won for the second time in his last seven starts, allowing one run and four hits. It was his first interleague victory at Fenway Park since 2000. Wakefield walked one
and struck out four, escaping trouble in the sixth inning.

Boston has scored six runs in Wakefield's eight losses this season.

"It was unbelievable [the run support]," Wakefield said. "I have always said that it makes our job easier when we get some runs on the board early."

The Red Sox, who have won 11 of their last 12 interleague games, finished with a season-high 17 hits.

"Even when we were losing earlier in the season, we were still playing well," Nationals closer Chad Cordero said. "We just haven't been able to keep their hitters down the last few games."

Alex Cora was 3-for-3 with three runs scored. He is 19-for-50 (.380) over his last 17 games.

"We did a pretty good job with runners in scoring position especially with a guy like Livan who likes to change speeds," Cora said. "He is a totally different pitcher. He is not throwing hard and throws more off-speed stuff.

Boston took a commanding 6-0 lead in the second inning, sending 12 men to the plate.

Trot Nixon led off with a single and scored on Doug Mirabelli's
RBI double. Mark Loretta had a two-run single and Cora and Manny Ramirez added run-scoring singles. Nixon capped the scoring with an RBI double which chased Hernandez.

The Red Sox added a run in the third when Alfonso Soriano
misplayed a hit by Kevin Youkilis allowing Cora to score and a run in the fourth on Mike Lowell's RBI single.

Washington made it 8-1 in the sixth when Wakefield walked in a run with no outs. He then got out of the jam by striking out Marlon Anderson and Ryan Zimmerman and getting Robert Fick to fly out.

Boston added three runs in the seventh on Coco Crisp's first
homer at Fenway Park and RBI singles by David Ortiz and Loretta to make it 11-1.

The Nationals got two runs in the ninth on a run-scoring single by Marlon Byrd and an RBI double by Soriano.

Game notes
The Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise is 0-8 all-time in Boston. ... Boston has gone nine games without an error. ... Nick Johnson missed his third consecutive game with a lower back strain and is still day-to-day. ... Right-hander Craig Hansen was recalled from Pawtucket while sending down pitcher Jermaine Van Buren. Hansen was the 26th overall player selected in the 2005 draft.