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44-Year-Old Wakefield Oldest To Win For Red Sox

This article is more than 10 years old.
Boston starting pitcher Tim Wakefield delivers a knuckleball against Tampa Bay during the first inning of the game in Boston on Wednesday. (AP)
Boston starting pitcher Tim Wakefield delivers a knuckleball against Tampa Bay during the first inning of the game in Boston on Wednesday. (AP)

To Tim Wakefield, winning never becomes old.

So on a night when the 44-year-old knuckleballer became the oldest pitcher to win for the Red Sox, he was already looking ahead.

"It means a lot considering I've been here for 16 years," he said after Boston beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-5 Wednesday. "Anytime you can have some sort of milestone, it's very important to have it in a Red Sox uniform."

Wakefield (4-10) surpassed Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, who was 43 when he got his last win for the Red Sox.

Now he'd like to be the team's top all-time winner. This was his 179th career victory with Boston, 13 behind the club record of 192 shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

"Hopefully I get an opportunity to try and do that," Wakefield said. "I know how important that is to me."

Marco Scutaro hit two homers and Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz and Victor Martinez also connected as warm temperatures on a late-summer night helped the ball carry out of Fenway Park. Four of the shots came off Matt Garza (14-8).

"We were kind of sloppy in a lot of areas and kind of hit our way through it, which is tough to do against their guy," Boston manager Terry Francona said.

The Rays dropped to 21/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. Boston is nine behind New York.

Wakefield, who found out Tuesday he'd be starting, allowed five runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. B.J. Upton hit a three-run homer for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay opens a three-game series in Toronto on Friday before heading home to host the Yankees for three.

Ahead 4-0 early, the Rays let Boston tie it through three innings. Jason Bartlett's RBI single in the fourth put Tampa Bay in front, but the Red Sox took the lead 7-5 and chased Garza with a three-run fifth.

"You'd like to think with him pitching under those circumstances we'd have a chance to add on, but they came back real quickly," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Martinez tied it with a leadoff homer into the back of the Red Sox bullpen. Ryan Kalish greeted reliever Chad Qualls with a go-ahead double off the left-field wall, a ball Carl Crawford might've caught if he hadn't pulled up and played the carom. Kalish scored when third baseman Evan Longoria bounced a throw to first for an error.

Garza gave up nine hits and six runs in 4 1-3 innings. He came in 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his last four starts.

"That felt like they were in there whaling on everything I threw. I really didn't have an answer," he said.

Maddon thought it was the perfect setting for Garza.

"Yeah, it did surprise me," he said. "He looked fine. He's been rested. He hasn't been overworked. A game like this is where he normally rises to the occasion."

Martinez's RBI single off reliever Randy Choate made it 8-5 in the sixth. Scutaro's second homer, his career-high tying fourth hit, made it 11-5 against Grant Balfour in the seventh.

Longoria's sacrifice fly had put the Rays ahead 1-0 in the first. They increased it to 4-0 in the second on Upton's homer, a drive that hit a billboard above the Green Monster.

The Red Sox tied it by scoring two runs in both the second and third. Beltre homered into the Monster seats after Ortiz walked, cutting it to 4-2 in the second. The homer gave Beltre 1,001 career RBIs.

Scutaro and Ortiz each hit solo shots into the left-field seats in the third.

Boston's Lars Anderson got his first two major league hits, both singles, and drove in a run.

This program aired on September 9, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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