Red Sox 11, Pirates 4; Red Sox 8, Pirates 3

Thursday, June 5th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates measured themselves against the Boston Red Sox -- and came up short.

Byung-Hyun Kim and Derek Lowe each limited the Pirates to five hits over seven innings as Boston swept a doubleheader with Pittsburgh, winning 11-4 and 8-3 Wednesday night.

"When we sit down to talk about the kind of club we eventually want to be, the Red Sox are one of the teams we use as a measuring stick," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "You look at that lineup, from No. 1 through No. 8, and it's pretty phenomenal. When you have a guy like Johnny Damon, a guy who's an All-Star, hitting eighth. . . that tells you how deep of a lineup they have."

Damon went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the second game in support of Lowe (5-3). He had a two-run single in a four-run seventh and an RBI double in the ninth.

Trot Nixon, who homered in both games, hit a solo shot in the second game off Jeff D'Amico (4-6).

Manny Ramirez went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs in the opening game to help Kim win his first start since joining the Red Sox last week in trade with Arizona.

Boston's Todd Walker singled in the ninth inning of the nightcap to extend his career-high hitting streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

"We just came from St. Louis, and the Cardinals have a pretty talented lineup. As hard as it is to believe, these guys are better," Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson said. "Every time I looked up at the scoreboard tonight, they had another .300 hitter at the plate."

The Red Sox are hitting .297, but Boston's pitching was equally impressive. The Red Sox moved back into the AL East lead for the first time since May 29, a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees.

"The good starting pitching in the first game set the tone," said Jason Varitek, who hit a three-run homer in the opener. "When we do that, it allows us to build on it and score some runs. We did a good job tonight, and we did it with starting pitching."

Kim (1-0) made his second appearance for Boston after pitching one inning of relief Sunday in a loss in Toronto.

"I'm very happy we were able to win the game," he said through a translator. "I had a pretty good fastball and I tried to pitch aggressively. I'm just glad I was able to help the team win."

Kim prevented any runners from advancing past second until Wilson's two-out single drove in Abraham Nunez in the fifth.

"He came in there and showed us exactly what we wanted to see," Boston manager Grady Little said. "I think everybody knows that when you have a guy like that come into your rotation, and a guy like Pedro Martinez getting ready to come back, it means a lot."

Lowe has won two of his last three starts.

"This offense is going to score runs. You just have to put up as many zeros as you can," Lowe said. "You just have to keep it as close as you can, because you know at some point our guys are going to break it open."

Kris Benson (5-6) gave up eight runs and 12 hits in the first game -- both season highs -- in 6 1-3 innings. He has allowed 30 hits over his last three starts.

Notes: The Pirates are 8-21 at home.

The Pirates' Aramis Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 17 games with hits in both games.

Lowe is 27-10 in 50 starts since moving from the bullpen into the rotation in September 2001.