Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 7/3)

Game 1: Monday, July 3
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Game 2: Tuesday, July 4
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Game 3: Wednesday, July 5
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Game 4: Thursday, July 6
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Red Sox 0

(50-30, 23-20 away)

Devil Rays 3

(36-47, 19-17 home)

    7:15 PM ET, July 3, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    W: S. Kazmir (10-5)

    L: J. Beckett (10-4)

    Kazmir shuts out Red Sox for first complete-game victory

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- With first-place Boston in town and more fans than usual in the seats at Tropicana Field, Scott Kazmir responded the way the Tampa Bay Devil Rays thought he would -- like an All-Star.

    Elias Says
    Scott Kazmir
    Kazmir
    Scott Kazmir, all of 22 years old, won his 10th game of the season, matching 23-year-old Justin Verlander of Detroit. The last time that two pitchers in one league, each not yet 24 years old, had at least 10 wins by the All-Star Game was in 1988, when Greg Maddux (22) had 15 wins and Dwight Gooden (23) had 11 wins at the break.

    • For more Elias Says, click here.

    The 22-year-old left-hander celebrated his selection to the AL team, pitching a two-hitter to beat the Red Sox 3-0 Monday night for his first career complete game. He become the youngest pitcher to reach 10 wins this early in a season since John Smoltz did it for Atlanta at age 22 in 1989.

    Kazmir (10-5) has a knack for pitching his best against Boston and the New York Yankees. He conceded that facing those perennial playoff contenders with a lively crowd behind him always gets his adrenaline going.

    "I try to go out with the same feeling every time I go out there, but sometimes you just can't help it with the atmosphere that's around playing those teams," Kazmir said. "It's a special atmosphere."

    Kazmir limited the Red Sox to a third-inning single by Alex Gonzalez until Manny Ramirez led off the ninth with a double to deep center field to give Boston only its third baserunner over the last six innings.

    The 22-year-old left-hander, who is 3-1 in four starts against Boston this season, walked two and struck out 10, including Jason Varitek four times and Ramirez once to escape a bases loaded jam in the third.

    Manager Joe Maddon wasn't surprised by the performance, Kazmir's first since being selected to the All-Star team on Sunday.

    "He responds well to things like that. He responds well to positive reinforcement. He responds well when people show confidence in him," Maddon said.

    "I really think the All-Star selection, combined with playing this game tonight in front of this crowd, elevated him a bit."

    Kazmir improved to 5-2 in 11 career starts against the Red Sox, who entered the game having won 14 of 15. He threw 120 pitches.

    Ty Wigginton homered twice and Russell Branyan added a third solo homer off Josh Beckett (10-4), who allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings in his bid to become the AL's first 11-game winner.

    "They always say solo home runs are not going to kill you. In a game like this, they will," Beckett said.

    "He's pitching great. That was just the bottom line. He pitched better than me. That's why they won and that's why we lost."

    Kazmir has made more starts and pitched more innings against the Red Sox than any other opponent, and much of his success against them can be attributed to his ability to contain Ramirez and David Ortiz.

    The Boston sluggers were 1-for-7 Monday night, with Ramirez going 1-for-4 to slip to 4-for-29 lifetime against Kazmir. Ortiz was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, dropping to 5-for-26 against the Devil Rays ace.

    "He has an explosive fastball that we've seen from him since day one," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Now he's mixing in that changeup and that slider. Some of those sliders he threw David were probably as good as I've seen."

    The Red Sox loaded the bases in the third on Gonzalez' hit, an error and a walk to Ortiz with two outs. But Kazmir struck out Ramirez. Wigginton led off the bottom half of the inning with his 14th homer.

    Beckett bailed himself out of a tight spot in the fourth by fielding Jonny Gomes' sharp grounder back to the mound to begin an inning-ending double play that stranded a runner at third with the Red Sox trailing 1-0.

    Branyan led off Tampa Bay's fifth with his 10th homer -- an opposite field shot that helped him remain one of just two major leaguers who have hit more home runs than singles (eight) this season. Atlanta pitcher Jorge Sosa (two homers, no singles) is the other.

    Three pitches later, Wigginton hit his 15th to make it 3-0.

    "Seven innings, three runs. Most nights that's good enough," Francona said of Beckett's performance. "We couldn't mount any offense."

    Game notes


    Beckett walked three and struck out six. ... Gonzalez's single extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... The Devil Rays are 13-25 against AL East opponents and 23-22 against everyone else. They are 5-11 against the Red Sox and New York Yankees. ... Beckett has allowed 23 homers in 104 innings. Wigginton has homered three times off him in 13 career at-bats. ... It was the second multihomer game of Wigginton's career. The other came for the New York Mets against the Yankees on July 4, 2004.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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