Boston Manager Kevin Kennedy knows what he has to do to keep the fans on his side: Stay in first place, where his Red Sox have been since May 9, and don't mess with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield won his ninth consecutive start Tuesday night at Boston to become baseball's second 13-game winner, leading the Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Kennedy was booed by the crowd of 34,574--the biggest at Fenway Park this season--when he went to the mound to talk to Wakefield (13-1) in the eighth. The fans cheered when Kennedy went back to the dugout alone, and again when Wakefield took the mound in the ninth.
Wakefield pitched his sixth complete game, best in the American League, to drop his major league-leading ERA to 1.61 and tie Baltimore's Mike Mussina for the most wins. Wakefield gave up six hits, including Eddie Murray's 14th home run of the year and 472nd of his career, as the Red Sox won their sixth in a row.
Kennedy said he only wanted to make sure Wakefield wasn't tired. "Tim was looking at me and we were trying to formulate a plan to let him go a little longer," catcher Mike Macfarlane said. "But Kevin didn't have that pull-him-out-of-the-game walk out there. He just gave him a little breather. And I thought it was good timing."
Mark Clark (6-4), who gave up 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, took the loss.
Wakefield, who was released by Pittsburgh in the spring and not signed by Boston until May 27, has not given up more than three earned runs in 16 starts--14 of them Red Sox victories.
"All I know is I never gave up on myself," Wakefield said.
New York 11, Baltimore 4--Ruben Sierra drove in seven runs with a homer, double and single at New York, and David Cone won his third consecutive decision for the Yankees.
Sierra's three-run homer off Rick Krivda (0-1) in the sixth inning gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead and negated Brady Anderson's 11th homer, a two-run shot, in the top of the inning.
Texas 4, Detroit 1--Kevin Gross scattered eight hits in eight-plus innings and snapped a three-game losing streak as the Rangers won at Arlington, Tex.
The 34-year-old Gross (5-11) had not recorded a victory at home since a 12-7 win over Toronto on May 17. He hadn't won a game since beating Boston, 7-2, on July 15.
Minnesota 5, Oakland 3--Rookie Brad Radke held the Athletics to four hits through eight innings and Kirby Puckett homered and doubled at Minneapolis as the Twins handed the A's their fourth consecutive loss.
Radke (8-10), gave up a double to Jason Giambi in the second that popped out of center fielder Rich Becker's glove, then retired 15 of the next 16 batters before giving up consecutive singles in the seventh.
Craig Paquette hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his 11th of the season, to cut the lead to 5-3.
Seattle 10, Chicago 9--Jay Buhner hit a grand slam in the fourth inning and Joey Cora singled in the winning run in the ninth for the Mariners at Seattle.