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MIL@BOS: Youkilis hits a three-run shot in the first

BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup champion Bruins took over the infield before Sunday afternoon's game, and the Fenway faithful reacted as though they had just seen a Red Sox walkoff.

But Boston has left nothing for its last at-bat lately, not with the way its offense, the Majors' best, continues to roll.

The Red Sox stormed out of the gate and over the Brewers, 12-3, behind six runs in the first inning. Three home runs and eight innings from Tim Wakefield rounded out another series victory for the American League East leaders, who are 17-7 in series finales.

"I don't know what it is. It seems like lately we've been doing a good job," said Jacoby Ellsbury, who had two hits in the first inning, when Boston sent 11 batters to the plate against Yovani Gallardo. "It's not always a hit, [it's] guys grinding, fouling eight, nine pitches off."

On Sunday it was hits.

Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia singled to start things, then Gallardo missed a throw covering first base on an Adrian Gonzalez grounder. That allowed the first run of the game to score, and four pitches later, Kevin Youkilis hit a three-run homer to left, his 11th of the season.

"A very good inning. That doesn't happen very often," manager Terry Francona said. "But Youk [got] a big hit, and we kept going."

With two out, Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to the right-field corner that drove in two and gave Wakefield a six-run padding.

offensive awakening
In the past month (since May 20), there have been 19 instances of a team scoring 12 or more runs on 14 or more hits. The Red Sox have accounted for six of those.
Date R H Opp. Results
5/20 15 18 CHC W 15-5
5/25 14 20 CLE W 14-2
5/26 14 16 DET W 14-1
6/11 16 18 TOR W 16-4
6/12 14 17 TOR W 14-1
6/19 12 14 MIL W 12-3
And every time the Red Sox scored, a foghorn sounded as though the Bruins had just scored a goal.

"It put a smile on my face, hearing that," said Ellsbury, who entered the day hitting a team-best .343 leading off an inning. "It's huge scoring runs like that in the beginning. It puts a lot of pressure on them and gets the pitchers' pitch count up, and they have to go to the bullpen early."

Gallardo was done after three-plus innings, charged with eight runs. Pedroia's homer to start the fourth and Gonzalez's triple following -- his 1,000th career hit -- chased the right-hander, who'd gone in with an 8-3 record.

Boston led, 7-2, when Gallardo exited, and added a run in the inning when Gonzalez came around with Sergio Mitre on in relief.

Wakefield, meanwhile, earned his 197th career win and became the third straight Sox starter to go at least eight innings, the first time Boston arms have put together such a run since 1996.

Showing every time out how valuable he is as a starter, even as he approaches his 45th birthday, Wakefield struck out a season-high six, walked one and allowed three runs on three hits.

"I've got a more consistent job right now," said Wakefield (4-2). "Last year was a lot of inconsistencies with what I was doing -- bullpen, start, bullpen, start, back to the bullpen. It's nice to have a routine and get some repetition on working on stuff on the side rather than hoping it's there when the game starts out of the bullpen. It's been a pleasure so far."

Boston kept the pressure on after Milwaukee scored two runs on Nyjer Morgan's two-out, two-strike homer to left in the top of the second, and Wakefield was lights-out from that point. He allowed two men to reach from the third through the eighth innings, the last accounting for the Brewers' final run, a Prince Fielder solo shot in the seventh.

"It had good movement on it," Fielder said of Wakefield's knuckler. "Some of them went in to right-handers, some of them went in to left-handers. It did what good knuckleballs do. It was frustrating."

Pedroia's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 9-2, and Marco Scutaro's second homer of the season, a two-run shot, made it 11-2 an inning later.

Every starter got a hit, and Scutaro, batting seventh, is now hitting .392 in his last 14 games dating back to May 3.

In the last month, since May 20, a Major League team has scored 12 or more runs on 14 or more hits 19 times. The Red Sox have accounted for six of those.

"We rolling," said David Ortiz, who went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. "We rolling."

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