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Cook, Ellsbury lead Red Sox over sliding Rays 5-2

Associated Press Published: September 17, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Cook went six weeks without a win. So when he finally got one, he enjoyed it.

Cook pitched six solid innings to stop his five-game losing streak, Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in three runs, and the Boston Red Sox beat the sliding Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Monday night.

"It's one of those things I try to put out of my mind, to just go out there and try to be myself every start and try to give us a chance to win some baseball games. Everything worked out tonight," Cook said. "We played really well tonight and it's nice to shake hands after a game."

Cook (4-10) allowed one run and five hits for his first victory since Aug. 6.

"I got in a real good rhythm early. I had my sinker working and I actually had quite a few cutters tonight. I usually don't throw that many," he said. "(The cutter) is one of those pitches that's really starting to open up the outside part of the plate when I keep 'em honest inside."

Ellsbury hit a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth for Boston's first hit off Rays starter Alex Cobb. He added an RBI single during a three-run seventh for the Red Sox, who were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday.

Jose Iglesias was hit by Cobb's pitch with one out and scored on Ellsbury's homer, which put the Red Sox ahead 2-1.

"For five innings it looked like we didn't have any gas in our tank, and then Iggy ignited us a little bit," manager Bobby Valentine said. "And Ells took a lot of time in between pitches and hit a 3-1 pitch, and he gave us the lead."

Rich Hill and Junichi Tazawa each threw a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts. For the 10th time this season, Cook had one walk or less and one strikeout or less, becoming the first pitcher to have 10 such starts since Detroit's Bill Gullickson in 1992.

"It's been a little time in between wins. Maybe he'll get on a little roll," Valentine said.

Tampa Bay, coming off a 1-5 road trip to Baltimore and New York, fell 5½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. The Rays have scored just 21 runs over the last seven games.

"This has been ongoing. ... This is a seasonal misadventure," manager Joe Maddon said. "We've been able to remain solvent because our pitching has been so good."

B.J. Upton had three of Tampa Bay's six hits.

Cobb and catcher Jose Molina got into a heated discussion in the dugout after the top of the sixth when Boston took a 2-1 advantage. There was a wild pitch and passed ball during the inning.

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