Alexandria broke a 2-2 tie with a five-run sixth inning and went on to win its sixth straight game by beating Winston-Salem, 9-3, last night before 544 at Four Mile Run Park.

The victory, combined with Salem's 5-3 loss to Durham, increased the Dukes' first-place lead in the Carolina League Northern Division to seven games. The Dukes, who have won 12 of their last 13, have a 16-4 record.

Alexandria finished with 13 hits off loser Kevin Clinton (0-5), including a run-scoring triple by Mike Quade in the third and a two-run single by Burk Goldthorn in the eighth.

Fernando Gonzales pitched seven innings, yielding seven hits and striking out eight in winning his four game without a loss. He walked three batters, but retired the Red Sox in order in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The Dukes capitalized on the slow windup of Clinton and his wild screw ball to steal bases and were aided by shoddy defensive play by Winston-Salem.

Eight Dukes had hits off four Red Sox pitchers, including two hits each by Quade, Nick Castaneda, Andy Snaith and Brad Garnett.

The Dukes took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Joe Orsulak and Castaneda walked with two outs. Garnett followed with a sharp single to right, scoring Orsulak. Castaneda was thrown out at home attempting to score from second on Jim Felt's line single to left.