Pitching powers Red Sox past Twins for doubleheader sweep

BOSTON -- The rain finally ended and Boston's winning streak continued.

Brad Penny pitched six solid innings in a game that began 47 minutes late as the Red Sox completed a doubleheader sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 7-3 win Wednesday night. The opener was shortened to seven innings by rain, with Tim Wakefield throwing a complete game in a 10-1 victory.

"It was a long, good day of baseball," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I think we felt fortunate even to play that second game."

The first game was a makeup of Tuesday night's rainout.

Penny (2-0) allowed two earned runs in the finale of the day-night doubleheader as the Red Sox extended their winning streak to seven games after a 2-6 start. Jeff Bailey hit a three-run homer and David Ortiz had a two-run double against Francisco Liriano (0-4).

In the opener, Kevin Youkilis, Nick Green and Mike Lowell each hit a two-run homer.

"In the National League, you give up two or three runs, you might get a loss that night," said Penny, who spent his first eight seasons in the NL before signing with Boston in January. "Here, who knows what's going to happen? It's an exciting game. It's an offensive division over here."

Penny yielded six hits in his first start since giving up eight runs in three innings of Boston's 10-8 win over Baltimore on Friday night. He left Wednesday's game with a 7-3 lead.

The Red Sox got outstanding pitching and hitting in their last four games, outscoring opponents 31-6.

"Very long day," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Our starters just didn't give us a good chance here."

In his first at-bat since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket after Rocco Baldelli went on the disabled list, Bailey homered in the second inning after J.D. Drew walked and Jason Varitek was hit by a pitch.

"I didn't know if it would clear the wall," Bailey said. "When it did, I ran around the bases pretty quick."

Ortiz hit his double in the third, giving him 739 RBIs with the Red Sox and breaking a tie with Joe Cronin for 10th place in club history.

The Twins made it 5-2 in the fourth on Justin Morneau's third homer, a double by Jason Kubel and an error by Green at shortstop that allowed Kubel to score on Brian Buscher's grounder.

But Boston scored two more in the fourth against Liriano. A walk to Bailey and a double by Green put runners at second and third. They scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's groundout and Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly.

Liriano already has lost more games than he did in his first full season, 2006, when he was 12-3.

"Yeah, it's bothering me, but it's a long season," he said.

Minnesota's final run came in the sixth when Morneau doubled, went to third on a flyout and scored on Michael Cuddyer's groundout.

In the opener, the Red Sox needed another long outing from Wakefield, and the 42-year-old knuckleballer came through.

He struck out four and walked one for his 32nd career complete game. He became the oldest pitcher in Red Sox history to pitch a complete game -- breaking the record he set in his previous start, when he rescued a beleaguered bullpen by taking a no-hitter into the eighth against Oakland.

Wakefield is the oldest pitcher to throw back-to-back complete games since fellow knuckleballer Charlie Hough, who was 44 when he did it in 1992 for the Chicago White Sox.

"Kind of fell into that one by accident," Wakefield said. "I'll take it."

His outing left the Red Sox bullpen rested for the second game after the teams couldn't quite finish seven innings before umpires brought out the tarp.

"We'll take 'em however we can get 'em," Francona said. "The weather cooperated enough that it didn't get in the way of his outing, and we didn't bring anyone else in, either."

The game was called after a 1-hour, 25-minute delay -- Boston's first rain-shortened game since Oct. 1, 2006, when Devern Hansack threw an unofficial, five-inning no-hitter. In an odd twist, Hansack was released before Wednesday's game to make room on the roster for Bailey.

The decision to end the first game and try to play the second -- instead of waiting out the rain to get in one full game -- was made by the umpires.

"When you're down 10-1 with two men still on -- it's kind of a little silly there. How many times are you going to wait four, five hours for a rain delay?" Gardenhire said. "Waiting around like that, umpires aren't going to do that. ... But definitely the score of the game makes it a little easier to bang this game. What are you going to say?"

Scott Baker (0-2) gave up a two-run homer in each of the first three innings and the Red Sox added four runs in the seventh before the tarp came out.

Carlos Gomez doubled and scored on Morneau's single in the fifth for Minnesota's only run.

Game notes
It was Francona's 50th birthday. ... In the second game, the Red Sox wore green caps and uniforms with green letters and numbers to mark Earth Day. ... Boston SS Julio Lugo, on the disabled list following right knee surgery, went 0-for-3 with a walk in a rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket. He said he'll be with Pawtucket on Friday when it begins a three-game series at Lehigh Valley, then join the Red Sox in Cleveland on Monday. "I can't wait," Lugo said. "It's been a long time since I've played up there. It's going to a thrill for me to go back."