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Red Sox Relieved to Win

September 23, 2003|From Associated Press

BOSTON — Byung-Hyun Kim has put his problems behind him -- just in time for the playoffs.

The Boston reliever, who nearly lost his job as closer, saved his second consecutive game, pitching a perfect ninth inning Monday night to protect the Red Sox's 7-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Boston also maintained its 2 1/2-game lead over Seattle in the American League wild-card race.

"I kind of put myself in the frame of mind like we do on an airplane when we are getting ready to take off and they say, 'Buckle your seat belt,' " Manager Grady Little said. "There might be a little turbulence. But tonight we had a safe landing."

Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon and David Ortiz homered for Boston, which stayed mathematically alive in the American League East when the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees, 6-3, in 10 innings. The next New York victory or Red Sox loss will eliminate Boston.

"Nobody cares who wins the division," Red Sox second baseman Todd Walker said. "All that matters is we make the playoffs."

Jeff Suppan (3-3) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings in what could be a tryout for the postseason.

Suppan, acquired from Pittsburgh, probably is competing with John Burkett for the fourth and final spot in Boston's playoff rotation.

"I'm not concerned with that right now," said Suppan, who is scheduled to start Saturday. "Right now, I'm getting ready to face the Tampa Bay Devil Rays."

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