BOSTON (AP) — Tim Wakefield held Chicago to four hits in 6 2-3 innings, and Adrian Gonzalez had four hits of his own to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 victory on Sunday and send the Cubs home after their first visit to Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.
Boston took two out of three from Chicago and has now won eight of its last nine to all but erase the damage from an awful April and move one-half game behind the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
Making his third start of the season, this one because of injuries to John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka, Wakefield (1-1) had faced the minimum number of batters when he struck out Jeff Baker with what would have been the third out of the fifth inning. Baker reached safely when the ball got past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
That was just the third baserunner in the first six innings against Wakefield, who won his 180th game for the Red Sox – third in franchise history behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens. The knuckleballer, who gave up a pair of doubles in the seventh for Chicago’s only run, struck out three and walked none before leaving with two out in the seventh.
James Russell (1-5) was also filling in, because Matt Garza was scratched with right elbow stiffness. He allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out two in four-plus innings.
Saltalamacchia homered for the third time in the last four games he’s played; he had gone 121 at-bats without a homer before that. Gonzalez went 10 for 15 in the series, which brought the Cubs back to Fenway for the first time since they lost the ’18 Series in six games.
The Red Sox went 86 years before winning another title. The Cubs are still waiting for their first World Series championship since 1908.
With Chicago’s players popping into the Green Monster’s scoreboard like tourists and its fans outcheering the home crowd at times, the Cubs bumbled their way through four errors in the opener. They won Saturday night and leave town after another loss.
Still, with the advent of interleague play, it will be a much shorter wait before they return.
Gonzalez singled to lead off the fourth, Kevin Youkilis walked and David Ortiz singled before back-to-back sacrifice flies by Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron made it 2-0. Saltalamacchia’s leadoff homer made it 3-0 in the fifth.
After Starlin Castro and Baker doubled to make it 3-1 and chase Wakefield in the seventh, Boston scored two more in the bottom half on Youkilis’ triple.
NOTES: Ortiz’s 300th home run on Saturday night was caught by CNN anchor John King in the Monster Seats and exchanged for a signed bat. … Russell had been 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA in his previous four starts this season. … It was military appreciation night for the Red Sox. Members of the armed services ringed the infield for the national anthem, and Marine Reservist Sergeant Terrence S. Burke, who has a prosthetic leg, ran around the bases before the game and was greeted at home plate by players. … The Cubs put OF Marlon Byrd on the 15-day DL with multiple fractures in his face on Sunday, a day after he was beaned by Alfredo Aceves. Byrd was released from the hospital and expected to travel back to Chicago with the team. Kerry Wood was warned after hitting Lowrie in the eighth. … Baker left the game with a groin strain and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.