Daubach, Hillenbrand provide early offense

BOSTON (AP) -- Boston's Derek Lowe kept silencing hitters and
Oakland manager Art Howe decided it was time to talk to his
struggling team.

Lowe allowed six hits in eight innings and took over the AL lead
with a 2.16 ERA as the Red Sox won 8-2 Wednesday night, handing the
Athletics their 10th loss in 12 games.

"I feel like every day I'm going to go out there I'm going to
win," Lowe said in his first start at Fenway Park since pitching
the first no-hitter there since 1965. "I've prepared all offseason
to have a good year."

Lowe (6-1), who struggled as a closer last year, beat Oakland
for the second time in six days. In his previous start, he retired
11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

"He wasn't as sharp this time." Howe said. "I thought in all
our other losses we battled. This one we didn't."

So he held a team meeting after the game.

It had "been a long time coming," Eric Chavez said. "I don't
think any of us were shocked."

Boston is 10-2 in its last 12 games, 3-0 without injured slugger
Manny Ramirez and has the best record in the majors, 27-9. Starting
right fielder Trot Nixon also missed the game, the second of his
four-game suspension for releasing his bat in the direction of
Tampa Bay pitcher Ryan Rupe on May 5.

"We knew coming in we had a lot of depth on this club, much
more depth than the Boston Red Sox club has had in the past few
years," Red Sox manager Grady Little said.

Consecutive homers by Brian Daubach and Shea Hillenbrand in the
first inning gave Lowe a 3-0 lead. Hillenbrand had four hits and
drove in three runs.

Rickey Henderson hit two RBI doubles as he went 2-for-5 for the
third straight game in place of Ramirez, who is out 4-to-6 weeks
with a broken left index finger.

"He'll give us a big lift when he does come back," Daubach

Lowe pitched a no-hitter April 27 against Tampa Bay and is 5-0
in his last six starts. On Wednesday, he had an excellent
sinkerball and threw 106 pitches. He allowed only four balls to
reach the outfield with only one outfield putout.

"I felt strong throughout," Lowe said. "It's tough to beat
the same team two starts in a row because they're going to make

Lowe gave up two runs, two walks and struck out five.

The Red Sox already led 4-0 when Lowe allowed his first run in
the fifth.

He retired the first two batters on grounders then gave up a
bloop single to left by Carlos Pena, who scored on Jeremy Giambi's
lined single off the left-field wall.

Erik Hiljus (3-3), who allowed 13 of his 22 runs in the first
two innings of his other six starts, struggled early again and hurt
himself with a throwing error.

"It's frustrating for everyone," he said. "It was just a
bonehead error I made at the beginning of the game that cost us."

With one out in the first, he jumped to field Johnny Damon's
bouncer but his underhanded throw to first baseman Pena was high
and rolled into Boston's dugout.

Nomar Garciaparra then popped out, but Daubach followed with a
two-run homer, his sixth of the season. Then Hillenbrand hit a solo
shot for his eighth.

Hiljus started the second by walking Tony Clark, who took second
on Rey Sanchez's one-out single.

Henderson then hit a ground-rule double that scored Clark for a
4-0 lead. Henderson also hit an RBI double in a three-run eighth.

Henderson broke a tie with Babe Ruth for 26th place all-time
with his 506th double.

Oakland's last run came in the eighth on Chavez's RBI single
after Giambi walked and Randy Velarde singled.

Game notes
Damon stole his 11th base of the season in the fifth, then
was thrown out when he also tried to steal third. ... Pena, who
attended Northeastern in Boston, went 1-for-3 after entering the
game in a 2-for-30 slump. ... Oakland cleanup hitter Jermaine Dye
went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a double play. ... Henderson
is 6-for-15 with five RBI in place of Ramirez.