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Waxing poetic about nice outing

When Derek Lowe was forced from his start against Oakland last Tuesday after six scoreless innings because of a blister on his right thumb, he wasn't sure he was going to be able to make his next start -- which was last night against Seattle at Fenway Park. But many home paraffin wax treatments later, Lowe was ready and it showed. He pitched 7 1/3 innings to set the pace in a 6-1 victory.

It marked his team-high 13th win of the season. He surrendered one earned run on five hits, striking out four and walking five (matching his career high set May 31, 2002 at Yankee Stadium). Of his 107 pitches, 64 were strikes. In his last three outings, Lowe is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA, allowing just 12 hits in 18 1/3 innings.

"I thought Derek Lowe was pretty good out there, wasn't he?" said manager Grady Little, whose team is riding a four-game winning streak. "He got through that very well after what he went through his last outing. He had no trouble with his blister out there tonight and he gave us a good, strong game. He's been outstanding. He's turned a corner from earlier in the season and hopefully he can keep it going the rest of the way. He was very aggressive in his attitude and aggressive with his pitches. He had good stuff. The kid is doing a good job for us right now and I think he's headed in the right direction."

Lowe, who is 8-2 at home with a 3.13 ERA this season as opposed to 5-4 and 6.78 ERA on the road, said he was pleased but not completely satisfied with his performance.

"There were some lapses I had in the game," he said. "Two outs and nobody on [in the top of the fifth] turned out to be bases loaded. The eighth inning, I wasn't fatigued but I was throwing [pitches] obviously where I didn't want to. Those are frustrating because you know you felt good and you know you've got to take advantage of these but I pitch again in five days."

When Lowe was replaced by Mike Timlin in the eighth after consecutive walks, he received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd of 34,344. Lowe said he heard it but didn't acknowledge it because he still had the heat-of-battle mentality.

"I've said all along, it's a black and white city," he said. "When you [don't] go good, they boo and when you pitch well, they cheer. It's that simple and I understand it. You want to pitch well for them because they're here for us, they're rooting for us. These next six weeks are going to be a lot of fun for everybody. I'm just happy to contribute."

Lowe's resurgence couldn't have come at a better time for the Sox. He said this is the time of year he wants to be on top of his game.

"People are going remember what you did the last two months," said Lowe. "If it wasn't for my no-hitter last year in April, no one would even remember what I did in April and May. So, this is the time of year when people pay attention to how you pitch and especially who we're playing. It's very gratifying to put in hard work and you see results. But I've got seven starts to go and you want to win them all. This time of year, you don't really analyze it, you're just trying to win games. You've got to win games. It doesn't matter how effective or how ugly, that's my only focus. Once I leave here today, I look forward to Friday against New York."

The best news for Lowe last night was that his right thumb was none the worse for wear. "It had no effect on the game," he said. "You just try to take all precautions. Like four days in between and when I played catch, I didn't put my thumb on the seam so there's certain stuff you can do to not aggravate it and I'm going to do the same thing this time."

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