It took Manny Delcarmen to preserve the win for Tim Wakefield (8-8) in the top of the seventh inning against the newest 600 homerun club member, Sammy Sosa, in the Boston Red Sox (49-29) win over the Texas Rangers (32-47) by a score of 2-1.
Wakefield who went 6.2 innings pitched, on seven hits, one earned run, four walks, and four strikeouts was given the hook in the top of the seventh with Kenny Lofton on second base and Jerry Hairston, Jr. on first.
Delcarmen came in to relieve Wakefield and walked Michael Young loading the bases to face Sosa. Delcarmen struck out Sosa on a 96 mph fastball with a full count to get the game to Hideki Okajima in the eight and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.
Okajima threw a perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning grounding out Victor Daiz to short, striking out Marlon Byrd looking, and got Brad Wilkerson to fly out to left.
Papelbon did not have an easy inning in the ninth, but finished off the Rangers getting his 19th save of the season.
Adam Melhuse struck out swinging, Ramon Vazquez flied out to right field, but two runners, Lofton (infield single and stolen base) and Hairston, Jr (hit-by-pitch), reached base before Papelbon struck out Michael Young in a long and feverish at-bat.
Young fouled off fastballs and sliders against Papelbon, but struck out looking as Jason Varitek called for a fastball on the outside corner and Papelbon delivered the third strike helping snap the three game losing streak.
Boston’s runs came in the fourth as Wily Mo Pena hit an infield single scoring Manny Ramirez and their second run came on a Ramirez’ fielder’s choice scoring Kevin Youkilis.
Lofton had four steals in the game three of which came off of Wakefield.