Lowe gets the best of Zito as Red Sox down A's

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ Derek Lowe outpitched Oakland's Barry Zito to become the American League's first 16-game winner as the Boston Red Sox beat the Athletics 4-2 Thursday.

The win puts Boston within one-half game of Anaheim in the wild card race. The A's, whose four-game winning streak ended, are 1 1/2 games behind.

``This is the first game, in my little short starting career, that I felt I had to win and it is the first time I ever put that pressure on myself,'' Lowe said.

Two seasons ago, Lowe saved 42 games for the Red Sox in an AL-leading 64 appearances. In his first full season as a starter, Lowe has even outperformed teammate Pedro Martinez in going 16-5.

Lowe allowed five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. Miguel Tejada's solo homer in the sixth ended Lowe's scoreless streak at 29 2-3 innings, longest in the majors this season and the longest since Greg Maddux's 39 1-3 innings in September 2000. He lowered his league-leading ERA from 2.13 to 2.09.

Of Lowe's 21 outs, only one reached the outfield. He got 12 outs on grounders, six on strikeouts and two on popups to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek.

``It was a heavyweight battle,'' said Oakland's Scott Hatteberg, who spent the past five seasons with Boston. ``He's unbelievable and I can't stand facing him.''

In other AL games, it was: the New York Yankees 6, Kansas City 3; Baltimore 4, Minnesota 1; Seattle 3, Toronto 1; Detroit 2, Texas 1; Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 2; and Chicago White Sox 3, Anaheim 2.

Zito (15-5) gave up seven hits in his first complete game of the season. He lost his second consecutive start after going 11-1 in his previous 13.

``You love to pitch in a game you know will be low-scoring,'' he said. ``If I made the pitches, the outcome would have been different.''

Cliff Floyd hit his first homer for Boston since being obtained last week from Montreal and 22nd of the season in the eighth inning to make it 4-1.

Yankees 6, Royals 3

In New York, Alfonso Soriano, Raul Mondesi and Robin Ventura homered to account for all the Yankees' runs, and Mariano Rivera returned from the disabled list to close out New York's 6-3 win over Kansas City.

The crowd of 55,142 stood when Rivera trotted in from the bullpen to pitch the ninth. Activated before the game after recovering from a strained right shoulder, Rivera pitched a perfect inning for his 25th save in 29 chances.

The Yankees boosted their home run total to 172, most in the majors. The American League East leaders sent Kansas City to its 14th loss in 16 games.

The homers provided plenty of support for Andy Pettitte (7-4). He won his third start in a row, pitching into the eighth inning.

Paul Byrd (14-8) was tagged for all three homers.

Orioles 4, Twins 1

In Baltimore, Chris Richard and Jeff Conine drove in two runs each to back Travis Driskill as Baltimore completed a three-game sweep of Minnesota.

It was the fourth straight defeat for Minnesota, matching its longest skid of the season (April 8-11). Jacque Jones had three hits for the Twins, just 11-40 against the Orioles since July 1996.

Driskill (8-5) allowed one run and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings to outpitch Brad Radke (4-3), who gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings.

Devil Rays 4, Indians 2

In Cleveland, Paul Wilson won his third straight start as Tampa Bay scored all its runs with two outs to defeat Cleveland.

Wilson (5-7) won for the first time in nine road starts since April 10. He allowed one run on six hits, striking out four in eight innings.

He has yielded just four earned runs in his last 22 innings and has an ERA of 2.58 since the All-Star break.

Tampa Bay went 8-for-14 with two outs over the first six innings against Danys Baez (8-9).

Tigers 2, Rangers 1

In Detroit, Jose Lima allowed nine hits in 5 1-3 innings as Detroit scored twice in the fourth inning to beat Texas.

Lima (3-5) allowed one run and walked none, throwing 53 of 71 pitches for strikes. Three relievers finished for the Tigers with Juan Acevedo getting three outs for his 20th save in 24 opportunities.

Texas loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Acevedo retired Alex Rodriguez on a groundout to end the game.

Rangers starter Ismael Valdes (5-9) allowed both Detroit runs and only four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

Mariners 3, Blue Jays 1

In Toronto, Jamie Moyer took a shutout into the eighth inning and Jeff Cirillo had three hits as Seattle beat Toronto.

Edgar Martinez had a two-run single in the third and Cirillo hit a run-scoring double in the sixth for the Mariners, who have won 15 of their last 18 games at SkyDome. Seattle hasn't lost a series in Toronto since 1999.

Moyer (12-4) allowed one run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings. The 39 year-old left-hander, who hasn't lost to Toronto since 1999, struck out four and walked two to improve 7-1 on the road this season.

White Sox 3, Angels 2

In Chicago, Jim Parque, pitching for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery last season, got his first win in nearly two years, leading Chicago over Anaheim.

Parque, in his first outing since May 2, 2001, allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for his first win since Sept. 23, 2000, at Minnesota.

Rocky Biddle, Kelly Wunsch, Keith Foulke and Damaso Marte combined on 3 2-3 scoreless innings of relief with Marte getting five outs for his fifth save.

Frank Thomas hit his 19th home run and Carlos Lee hit his 18th off Aaron Sele (8-8) for Chicago.