- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2002

BOSTON Derek Lowe came into the season hoping to make up for his flop as a reliever last year.
He figured 10 wins would be good; 15 would be great.
He undersold himself on both counts.
A year after washing out as a closer and being demoted into the starting rotation, Lowe won his 20th game for Boston as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-4 yesterday with two homers by Manny Ramirez.
"To win 20 games in 30 starts, I've probably exceeded what I expected of myself," the former All-Star closer said.
And his manager, too.
"We figured the kid was going to keep us in a lot of ballgames," Boston's Grady Little said. "But to be able to win 20 games is outstanding."
Lowe (20-7) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out seven in seven innings to bolster his case for a Cy Young Award. The top competition is from Oakland's Barry Zito, who is 21-5, and Red Sox teammate Pedro Martinez, who's 18-4 and leads the league in ERA, strikeouts and opponent's batting average.
"I went to bed last night and Zito had a no-hitter through six. So you put that out of your mind," Lowe said. "I want everybody to pitch good and when the season's all done, it will be a close race."
Lowe, who pitched the only no-hitter in the majors this year, is the first pitcher in baseball history to win 20 games the season after saving 20. He is also the first to record at least 40 saves and later win 20; John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley did it the other way around.
"I congratulate him on winning 20," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "That is not an easy feat."
Pat Hentgen (0-2), a former Cy Young and 20-game winner himself, could not make it out of the fifth inning for Baltimore, which has lost 19 of its last 21 games. Hentgen gave up six runs on 10 hits and four walks in 4⅔ innings.
The Orioles have not finished above .500 since 1997; four straight losing seasons was already a franchise record.
Ugueth Urbina earned his 35th save, getting the last three outs after Tony Batista and Jay Gibbons hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the ninth to make it 6-3. Larry Bigbie hit an RBI single off Urbina with one out in the inning.
The Red Sox still trail the Yankees by 8 games in the AL East with only 15 games remaining.
Lowe was an All-Star closer while saving 42 games in 2000, but he struggled last year and was demoted into the starting rotation as a last resort. He showed the wisdom of the move when he no-hit Tampa Bay on April 27 the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since 1965.
"You love to do anything special at home," said Lowe, who will make his last two starts on the road. "I felt like I had an opportunity to do something very special. It really has been a fun year."
He wasn't unhittable but he was good enough to beat the struggling Orioles.
Chris Singleton singled, stole second, took third when catcher Jason Varitek threw the ball into center field, and scored on Chris Richard's RBI groundout to make it 1-0 after one.
But Ramirez homered to lead off the second and tie it. Cliff Floyd followed with a double, Brian Daubach walked and Varitek singled home Floyd before Daubach scored on a double play to make it 3-1.
Jeff Conine's single scored Batista, who had three hits, in the fourth to make it 3-2.
Boston chased Hentgen in the fifth when Ramirez hit another solo homer, this one with two outs. Floyd followed with his third hit of the game, Daubach doubled and Varitek walked to load the bases.
Trot Nixon singled to drive in two runs and make it 6-2 before Travis Driskill got Rey Sanchez on a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Ramirez has homered in five of his last eight games. He had his seventh mulithomer game of the season and the 34th of his career. That's second best in Red Sox history, tying Jim Rice. Jimmie Foxx had 10 multihomer games in 1938. Lowe is the first Red Sox pitcher to win 20 games other than Martinez or Roger Clemens since Eckersley in 1978. Lowe is the first Red Sox pitcher to win 20 games and pitch a no-hitter since Howard Ehmke in 1923. Cy Young did it twice (1904 and 1908), and Smoky Joe Wood (1911) and Jesse Tannehill (1904) also turned the trick. The Red Sox will induct RHP Tex Hughson and OF Duffy Lewis into the team's hall of fame. Lewis played on three World Series champions 1912, 1915 and 1916 but is better known for "Duffy's Cliff," the steep incline in left field at Fenway Park from 1912-1917. 32 of Garciaparra's 50 doubles have come with men on base. Batista had 34 multihit games this season. Conine is hitting .342 in his last 31 games and .429 in his last five. The Orioles went six years without a winning record after joining the league in 1954. They went .500 in 1957. Baltimore has given up 10 or more hits 13 times in the last 21 games.

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