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RED SOX NOTEBOOK

Bats were more than a bit wooden in series

NEW YORK -- Don't expect the Red Sox to buy the theory that the Yankees' pitching has declined. Not after the Sox managed only eight runs on 20 hits over three of the most important games of the season. While the Yankees hit .308 and scored 27 runs, the Sox mustered only a .200 average as two of their core hitters -- Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek -- went 0 for the Bronx.

Ramirez went hitless in eight at-bats, managing to drive only one ball beyond the infield (he flied to right Friday night against Tanyon Sturtze). And Varitek went 0 for 10 with eight strikeouts and two popouts.

"I stunk," Varitek said. "That's all I can say. I took myself out of my game. I didn't see the ball the way I'm used to and I stunk, period."

Varitek, who went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts yesterday against Mike Mussina, has hit .137 (7 for 51) against the Yankees this year and .224 against them in his career.

"I don't know why," he said. "I've had a lot of success here at different times. It's just coincidental right now."

A number of Sox have struggled badly in their careers against Mussina. Varitek dropped to .095 (4 for 42) while Ramirez went 0 for 4 against Mussina to slip to .183 (13 for 71). David Ortiz mustered a single to improve to .083 (2 for 24) and Trot Nixon collected a pair of singles to boost his average against Mussina to .167 (9 for 54). But Bill Mueller, returning to the lineup after missing four games with a sore right knee, went 0 for 3 against Mussina to remain hitless in 10 career at-bats against him.

One of the few Sox players to fare well against Mussina is Kevin Millar, who went 1 for 2 with a walk to improve to .333 (7 for 21) against him.

The Sox hit .158 (3 for 19) in the series with runners in scoring position.

All told, only two Sox batters mustered as many as three hits in the series: Ortiz (3 for 7) and Johnny Damon (3 for 12). And the Sox generally shared Varitek's view of the mini-slump.

"I would rather it not happen now," he said, "but hopefully we can get it turned around."

Ticket policy
Registration for a random drawing to buy tickets for any Sox postseason games at Fenway Park began yesterday and continues until Wednesday at noon at www.redsox.com. Fewer than 2,000 tickets will be available for each game because of the large season-ticket base and the requirements of Major League Baseball. A drawing for Division Series games will take place Thursday and individuals who are selected will be notified by e-mail by noon that day. The e-mail will provide instructions on how to buy tickets online Friday between noon and 6 p.m.

Each person whose name is drawn may buy no more than two tickets to one game. Ticket prices for the Division Series are set by MLB: $80 for box seats, $44 for grandstand seats, $25 for bleacher seats, and $20 for standing room. There is an additional $6 fee per ticket and $20 fee per transaction. Registrants who are not selected to buy tickets for the Division Series remain eligible for drawings for the Championship Series and World Series. Fans who are selected for the opportunity to buy tickets in any round are ineligible for later rounds.

A limited number of tickets will be sold over the phone for fans who do not have Internet access or are not selected in the random drawing. Those tickets will go on sale Friday at 3 p.m., and may be purchased by calling 617-482-4SOX. Fans with disabilities may call 877-RED-SOX9 for tickets beginning Friday at noon. No tickets will be available at the Fenway ticket office.

Not what it appeared
It may have looked like Mike Timlin reacted angrily after Derek Jeter dropped a bunt single against him with the Yankees leading, 7-1, in the sixth inning, but both players said Timlin's shouts at Jeter were lighthearted. "It was pretty good-natured," Timlin said. "Actually he made me look good by bunting the ball. He didn't want to swing the bat right there. I had to rag on him a little bit." Jeter took it in the same spirit. "He was joking that I bunted," Jeter said. "There was no barking. He was smiling." . . . Tim Wakefield will try to get the Sox back on track and snap a personal three-game losing streak tonight when he faces the Orioles in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park. Wakefield pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory July 22 in the Fens the last time he faced the Orioles . . . Curt Schilling, who pitches tomorrow on four days of rest, is 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 15 starts when he pitches with four days of rest and 13-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 15 starts with five or more days of rest, according to the Sox' stat team. Overall, batters have hit .233 against Schilling through his first 90 pitches and .333 against him after 90 pitches . . . Derek Lowe said his right shin felt better after it was struck Saturday by Alex Rodriguez's line drive. He is expected to make his next start Thursday against the Orioles.

More throwing
Byung Hyun Kim threw in the bullpen before the game as the Sox continue to monitor his progess with an eye toward activating him. "We have a lot invested in this guy," manager Terry Francona said. "We'd really like him to help us win." . . . One of the few positives Francona took from Saturday's 14-4 blowout was Terry Adams volunteering to pitch an extra inning of relief to help reduce the stress on the bullpen. Adams, who took over for Lowe with none out in the second inning, worked three innings, his longest outing in 149 appearances since he went three innings Aug. 23, 2002, for the Phillies. Adams threw 47 pitches Saturday, his most since he fired 72 in his final start for the Phillies July 20, 2002. Adams has gone from serving as a setup man for the Blue Jays to pitching in middle and long relief for the Sox. "I know it's not a lot of fun for him," Francona said. "But he went out and picked up innings that we desperately need." . . . Expos general manager Omar Minaya brought his young son to the game and visited his former shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, for the first time since he traded Cabrera to the Sox in a four-team, eight-player deal that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs . . . Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan tossed a ceremonial first pitch to countryman Hideki Matsui

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