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Arroyo, Sox stingy on hits in Motown

Page 2 of 2 -- The no-hit possibility "crept into my mind in the sixth," Arroyo said. The 28-year-old has never thrown a no-hitter in the big leagues but did toss a perfect game with Triple A Pawtucket Aug. 10, 2003. In hindsight, he said, he felt some symmetry between yesterday and that day nearly two years ago.

"I came into the clubhouse [yesterday] feeling nauseous, feeling like I was going to throw up," he said. "I banged my elbow the day I threw a perfect game and wasn't that confident."

The one mistake, on the homer, severely jeopardized Arroyo's chance, and the team's, for a win. The Sox hit just .225 (10 for 45) in the series with runners in scoring position, leaving 40 men on base in four games, and were just 1 for 8 yesterday.

But David Ortiz came up with the big hit, a ninth-inning, two-out double off Ugueth Urbina that one-hopped off the base of the wall in straightaway center. Trot Nixon (four hits) made Ortiz's at-bat possible by singling to center. Urbina, who pitched two innings, allowing four hits and a run, made what looked to be a good pitch down low to Ortiz that he managed to drive more than 400 feet to send Nixon home.

"I was praying just to get a hit," said Ortiz, who, before that at-bat, was batting .192 (5 for 26) with runners in scoring position this season. "My part in the game is to hit. If I don't hit, it's like I am just stealing money."

Keith Foulke saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth, his seventh save in eight opportunities this season. But yesterday was just the fourth time in 14 appearances this year that Foulke did not allow either a hit or walk. All three of his outs were fly outs. Arroyo, meanwhile, was the strikeout attraction. The spindly breaking ball artist fanned a season-high eight, a couple of which demonstrated just how deceiving he can be.

In the sixth, Omar Infante took a three-quarter swing and looked thoroughly flustered after missing a 77-mile-per-hour breaking ball. Then in the seventh, Pena, after seeing so much breaking stuff all day, looked overmatched by a 91-m.p.h. fastball away.

Arroyo improved to a team-best 4-0, lowered his ERA to 3.18, and is 9-0 since his last regular-season loss, Aug. 15, 2004. Since then, the team is 14-1 when he starts in the regular season.

"Bronson's been awesome all year," said Damon. "On any other team he's a No. 1 [starter]. He might be ours." 

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