Mutai, Kilel of Kenya win 2011 Boston Marathon

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Mutai, Kilel of Kenya win 2011 Boston Marathon

BOSTON (AP) -- Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds -- the fastest anyone has ever run the 26.2-mile distance.

The previous best of 2:03:59 was by Haile Gebrselassie in Berlin 2008. Because Monday's race had a strong tailwind on a downhill course, Mutai's run is not recognized by track's international governing body as a record.

But Mutai was almost three minutes better than the course record set just last year by Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot.

Caroline Kilel won the women's race to complete the Kenyan sweep, outsprinting Desiree Davila of the United States to win by two seconds, in 2:22:36. Davila led as late as the final stretch on Boylston Street and ran the fastest Boston time ever for an American woman, five seconds faster than Joan Benoit finished to win in 1983.

No American -- man or woman -- has won Boston since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985. Ryan Hall ran the fastest marathon ever for an American, finishing fourth in 2:04:58, and Kara Goucher ran a personal best 2:24:52 to add a fifth-place finish to her third in 2009.

Kilel and Mutai each earn 150,000 for the win, and Mutai gets 50,000 for the world best and another 25,000 for the course record.

A year after Cheruiyot lowered the course record by more than a minute, the runners lined up in Hopkinton with temperatures in the high 40s and a wind at their backs -- perfect marathoning weather.

Kim Smith, a New Zealander who lives in Providence, took off at a record pace and led the women's race for more than 20 miles. The men were more steady, and they were the ones to take down the old mark.

Four men, including Hall and third-place finisher Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia, broke the 2:05 milestone that just 12 months ago had seemed insurmountable on the hilly Boston course.

Mutai and Moses Mosop ran side-by-side for the final miles before Mutai pulled ahead for good on Boylston Street and won by four seconds. The 19th Kenyan winner in the past 21 years, Mutai raised his arms in the air and grinned; Cheruiyot, who injured his side in a car accident in Kenya, dropped out in the first half of the race.

Smith took off at the start, and the pack let her go, falling almost a minute behind. But 20 miles in, as she ran down Commonwealth Avenue in Newton toward Heartbreak Hill, she began to stutter-step.

Soon, she had stopped completely to rub her right calf. It was only for a few seconds, but when she resumed she had clearly slowed and the pack was upon her less than a mile later. Among them was Davila.

The American ran with Kenyans Kilel and Sharon Cherop through Chestnut Hill and briefly broke out of her rhythm to wave as the crowd began chanting, "U-S-A!" The three swapped leads down Beacon Street in Brookline, and Davila led even on the final stretch before Kilel outkicked her.

Masazumi Soejima and Wakako Tsuchida gave Japan a sweep of the men's and women's wheelchair divisions. It was the fifth straight win for Tsuchida and the second overall for Soejima.

-- The Associated Press

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

MISSING: OFFENSE

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.