Eighteen bagels -- served up by David Wells, Blaine Neal, Matt Clement and Keith Foulke.
Baltimore began the brief two-game series hitting .295. They had scored 77 runs in their last 11 games. The Red Sox staff, in sweeping the series 8-0 and 1-0, held the Birds to a paltry .190 (12-for-63) average.
Clement allowed eight hits, but only four of them left the infield. After giving up two infield hits with two outs in the eighth, he got Sammy Sosa on a tapper back to the mound. Foulke gave up a one-out double in the ninth, but retire Jay Gibbons and BJ Surhoff on routine fly outs to close it out.
Rodrigo Lopez was as tough on the Sox as usual -- he was 3-1, 1.78 against Boston last year. Like Clement, Lopez pitched eight innings. After Boston scored in the second inning, they were able to get only one runner to second base. The only runner Baltimore got to third all night was Palmeiro, who was thrown out at the plate to end the fourth.
In his last two starts, Clement is throwing a much higher percentage of his pitches for strikes. He was quick to give credit to Jason Varitek. "He comes with a great game plan. It's just fun to throw to somebody like that. I've never been around somebody like that in my career." In the past seven games, Boston starters have posted a 1.13 ERA (48 innings, six earned runs). Overall, the starters' 3.15 ERA is second in the AL. ... David Wells is the first Red Sox lefty to start in back-to-back shutouts since Bruce Hurst in May 1987.
Kevin Millar was in the middle of things last night. He began the second inning with a double off the left field wall. He went to third on a throwing error by Miguel Tejada and scored on Ramon Vazquez's ground out. Then, when Palmeiro tried to score from first on Jay Gibbons's double to right, Millar was the relay man on a 9-3-2 play at the plate.
Terry Francona found out before the game that hitting coach Ron Jackson had been suspended for "excessive arguing" by reading it online. That was the game against the Yankees in which umpire Greg Gibbons said he read Jackson's lips in the Red Sox dugout -- he admitted he didn't hear Jackson -- and tossed him. Coaches cannot appeal suspensions, so Jackson was absent last night. Jay Payton was seen in the dugout wearing Jackson's uniform (with a bunch of towels stuffed underneath) and toting a clipboard.
Pedro Martinez has a sterling 2.17 ERA in 29 innings (four starts) this season, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 38-4. Last night in Florida, he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on three hits. At one point he threw 18 consecutive strikes. ... Derek Lowe has a 1.27 ERA in 28.1 inning for LA.
The first-place Red Sox (10-6) are in Tampa Bay:
Friday: Tim Wakefield / Scott Kazmir, 7:15
Saturday: Curt Schilling / Doug Waechter, 6:15
Sunday: Bronson Arroyo / Hideo Nomo, 2:15