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Shields helps Rays blank Boston

Jun 15, 2011 - 6:29 AM St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - James Shields turned in his fourth complete game of the season as Tampa Bay downed Boston, 4-0, in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

Shields (6-4) also tossed his third shutout of the year, giving up five hits with three walks while striking out five. The right-hander also won for the first time since May 22, snapping a three-start winless string.

Justin Ruggiano homered, while Casey Kotchman posted two hits and an RBI for the Rays, who have won six of their last eight outings.

"We are the defending American League East champs and we plan on defending it, capturing the flag again," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I don't want anybody here thinking anything differently."

Adrian Gonzalez recorded three hits for the Red Sox, whose season-high nine- game win streak was halted. Boston, which scored at least five times in every contest during the burst, was blanked for the first time since May 29.

Tim Wakefield (3-2) worked seven innings and took the loss despite allowing just four hits and one earned run. The veteran knuckleballer did issue five walks and a wild pitch.

The Rays increased their lead from 2-0 to 4-0 in the eighth against a pair of Red Sox relievers. Matt Joyce led off with a double against Tommy Hottovy, then Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch ahead of Kotchman's RBI single. That brought in Alfredo Aceves, who retired B.J. Upton before allowing an RBI hit from John Jaso.

Shields completed his outing with a 1-2-3 ninth, which included Kotchman's ungraceful catch of an errant Longoria throw and tag of Kevin Youkilis for the second out.

"He kept the ball from hitting our bats pretty good," said ex-Ray and current Boston outfielder Carl Crawford. "I know those guys...whenever the Red Sox are in town, they kick it up a notch. I expected him to pitch one of his best games, and he did."

The Sox failed to push across a run despite loading the bases in the first inning, and also couldn't score with a two-on, one-out situation in the third after Youkilis grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Ben Zobrist also killed a Tampa rally in the home third, grounding out with two men in scoring position.

Ruggiano finally snapped the deadlock with a one-out solo homer in the fifth.

Tampa picked up another run in the sixth as Longoria walked with one out, advanced on a passed ball, moved to third on a fielder's choice grounder and scored on another passed ball.

Game Notes

Shields' last complete-game shutout came on May 22 at Florida, a 4-0 decision where he fanned 13 with one walk...He now has five career whitewashes and has gone the distance nine total times...Shields has also worked at least seven innings in 12 of his 14 starts this year...Wakefield threw a season-high 119 pitches, his most in any one start since September 18, 2003 when he tossed 119 in a 4-3 win for Boston at Tampa...Prior to the game, the Red Sox activated outfielder Darnell McDonald from the 15-day disabled list.