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Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2003 1:53 AM EST
Boston Red Sox
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
7 8 1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
5 7 2
W D Lowe (1-0)
L J Parque (0-1)
S C Fox (1)
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Jason Varitek ensured a much quicker win for the Boston Red Sox .

Varitek's three-run homer in the fifth inning powered the Red Sox to their second straight victory over the Devil Rays , 7-5.

After losing the series opener on Monday, Boston bounced back with a 9-8 victory in a 16-inning marathon Tuesday.

The Red Sox had runners on first and second in the fifth when Varitek belted the first pitch of his at-bat against Jim Parque (0-1) off the catwalk in left, opening a 7-3 lead.

"He looked like he intentionally tried to hit Hilly ( Shea Hillenbrand ) the first two pitches," Varitek said of the batter that preceded him. "Then, he seemed to just pitch around him. It was a little poetic justice to hit the home run."

Parque indicated he was struggling with his control.

"I fought myself all game long mechanically," Parque said. "I was all juiced up for the game and I was too quick to the plate and didn't let my windup develop. It wasn't like they hit a lot of balls hard, though. The three-run jack was the only (one)."

A huge surprise in his first full season as a starter in 2002, Derek Lowe (1-0) earned the win despite being tagged for five runs and six hits in six innings. The All-Star righthander struck out three and walked two.

"This was obviously an offensive win," Lowe said. "It's a team win. My name just happens to be next to it. I didn't pitch that good."

Aubrey Huff 's two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth pulled Tampa Bay within 7-5, but the Devil Rays were unable to rally as they had in the opening two games of the four-game series.

The Red Sox and the Devil Rays used a combined 14 pitchers - a record for both clubs - in their five-hour, 15-minute contest on Tuesday. So they desperately needed innings from their starters Wednesday.

Parque did not deliver, yielding seven runs and seven hits in five innings. The lefthander struck out one and walked five.

"With 16 innings last night, we needed (innings from Parque)," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "(We) only got (five). We tried to milk him as much as possible."

"After last night's game, I wanted to go out and give the bullpen as much rest as I could," Parque said. "I over-tried. It's the first one and it better be the last one (like this)."

Rookie Rocco Baldelli had an RBI single and scored on a wild pitch by Lowe with one out as the Devil Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Marlon Anderson 's two-out RBI single gave Tampa Bay a three-run cushion.

The score was 3-1 when Kevin Millar , who belted the game-winning homer a night earlier, doubled home Todd Walker to spark a two-out, three-run rally. David Ortiz 's double plated Millar and then Hillenbrand's RBI single put the Red Sox in front, 4-3.

Lowe was replaced to start the seventh by Mike Timlin , who threw two hitless innings. "That's the kind of job we're looking for," Red Sox manager Grady Little said of his bullpen. "When we've got a lead after six innings, we expect to have these guys come in and get them out. For nine outs, that's exactly what happened."

Chad Fox yielded a hit in the ninth and notched the save. Fox gave up the game-winning homer to Carl Crawford on Opening Day and the left fielder represented the tying run on Wednesday. But the righthander got Crawford to fly out to left for the final out of the game.

"I got over that loss pretty quickly," Fox said. "It was good to get that last out off the guy that got me."

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