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Boston at Texas

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Boston «205000000771
Texas000022000481

Ramirez connects for 20th career grand slam in Red Sox victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manny Ramirez took a few steps out of the batter's box and slowed to admire the high-arching shot. The experience wasn't new for the Boston slugger.

As soon as the ball fell beyond the wall in right-center field for his 20th career grand slam, Ramirez stuck his arms in the air and began the slow trot around the bases that gave the Red Sox a six-run lead en route to their 7-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

"Manny does what Manny does, it's incredible," manager Terry Francona said. "He has a knack for that. He stays on balls in those situations. He's an RBI guy. He smells them, it's unbelievable."

His third grand slam this season was his 22nd homer, tying him with Texas' Mark Teixeira for the AL lead. It pushed his majors-leading RBI total to 77.

The 20 grand slams are the second-most in major-league history, trailing only Lou Gehrig's 23. Hall of Famer Eddie Murray had 19.

David Ortiz and Bill Mueller also homered for the Red Sox, all in the first three innings for a 7-0 lead. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (8-5) provided a huge boost for the pitching staff by going eight innings in his 300th major-league start.

"When you get that kind of a lead, it makes my job a lot easier," said Wakefield, 4-0 in six starts since a five-game losing streak. "Knowing our circumstances here with our bullpen, it's just a matter of getting the job done."

Wakefield held Texas to four runs on eight hits, improving his career record to 136-117.

With struggling closer Keith Foulke scheduled to return to Boston to have MRI exams on both knees, Mike Timlin worked the ninth. He needed just six pitches for his second save in three chances.

"He kept that drama out of that game," Francona said.

Foulke, 5-5 with a 6.23 ERA, blew his second save in a week Monday night when Texas scored twice in the ninth for a 6-5 win. He has 15 saves and has blown four other chances.

The grand slam came with no outs in the third off Chris Young (8-5). After an error, a single and a walk, Ramirez hit a ball that just cleared the wall on a rare almost-windless night in Texas.

"The way it sounded, I didn't think it was a home run," Young said. "But he's exceptionally strong and got enough of it."

Ramirez left without talking to reporters.

"He thought it was out by the way he reacted. He's a good judge of it," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He's a smart hitter. He doesn't miss many mistakes."

Two batters later, Mueller's fourth homer chased the rookie pitcher.

Boston never trailed after Ortiz hit a two-run shot in the first, his 20th homer. That scored Johnny Damon, whose leadoff single extended his career-best hitting streak to 21 games and matched the longest in the majors this season.

Even after losing five of its previous seven games, Boston began the second half of the 162-game schedule leading the AL East for the first time since 2001. The Red Sox have a 3½-game lead over slumping Baltimore and the New York Yankees are just a half-game further back.

Pitching ace Curt Schilling rejoined his teammates Tuesday, but it seems unlikely he'll return to the rotation this week as he had been on track to do before struggling in two rehabilitation starts.

When Ramirez and Ortiz are hitting like they did Tuesday, the pitching isn't as much of a concern. Ortiz is second in the AL with 70 RBI.

Four other sets of Boston teammates have had 20 homers each before the All-Star break, but Ramirez and Ortiz are the first to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons. The only other current teammates with 20 homers each are Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano (20).

Young lasted just 2 1/3 innings, the shortest outing in 24 career starts, 17 this season. He gave up seven runs -- six earned -- with two walks and three strikeouts. His ERA increased from 3.33 to 3.80.

Young is scheduled to start Sunday against Toronto, giving him one more chance to become the first Rangers rookie to have nine wins before the All-Star break.

Gary Matthews Jr.'s sixth homer, his fourth in six games, came after Rod Barajas had a one-out single in the fifth to get Texas within 7-2. An inning later, Kevin Mench had a two-run single.

Notes

  • Darin Erstad of the Los Angeles Angels had a 21-game hitting streak from May 28-June 21.
  • Young has given up eight homers the last four games, after just four long balls against him the first 13.
  • LHP Ron Mahay worked 3 2/3 innings in relief of Young, with five strikeouts and allowing only an infield single.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Manny Ramirez is greeted after his big blast. His 20 grand slams trail only Lou Gehrig's 23.  (AP)
Manny Ramirez is greeted after his big blast. His 20 grand slams trail only Lou Gehrig's 23. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Boston

D. Ortiz
AB 4
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF4210100 .337
Edgar Renteria, SS4130111 .279
David Ortiz, DH4212114 .312
Manny Ramirez, LF4114011 .272
Trot Nixon, RF4000010 .292
Bill Mueller, 3B2111210 .287
John Olerud, 1B4000012 .356
Doug Mirabelli, C4000042 .237
Mark Bellhorn, 2B4000011 .225
Totals3477751111 
Batting
HR - David Ortiz (20, C. Young), Manny Ramirez (22, C. Young), Bill Mueller (4, C. Young)
RBI - David Ortiz 2 (70), Manny Ramirez 4 (77), Bill Mueller (33)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Edgar Renteria (16, )
Boston Red Sox
Tim Wakefield (W,8-6) 8844151 3.98
Mike Timlin (S,2) 1000010 1.73
HBP - Young (by Tim Wakefield)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Wakefield 115-75, Mike Timlin 6-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Wakefield 4-15, Mike Timlin 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Wakefield 34, Mike Timlin 3
Texas Rangers
David Dellucci, DH5000020 .264
Michael Young, SS3020000 .325
Mark Teixeira, 1B4110002 .287
Hank Blalock, 3B4110001 .279
Alfonso Soriano, 2B3000112 .274
Kevin Mench, LF4011021 .290
Laynce Nix, CF3011001 .247
Rod Barajas, C4110012 .263
Gary Matthews Jr., RF4112000 .249
Totals34484169 
Batting
2B - Michael Young (16, Wakefield), Kevin Mench (21, Wakefield), Laynce Nix (11, Wakefield)
HR - Gary Matthews Jr. (6, Wakefield)
SF - Laynce Nix (2)
RBI - Kevin Mench (44), Laynce Nix (32), Gary Matthews Jr. 2 (18)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Soriano-Young-Teixeira
E - Laynce Nix (2, dropped fly)
Texas Rangers
Chris Young (L,8-5) 2.1576233 3.80
Ron Mahay 3.2100050 6.92
Doug Brocail 3100330 4.82
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Young 60-37, Ron Mahay 49-34, Doug Brocail 40-24
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ron Mahay 2-4, Doug Brocail 2-3
Batters Faced - Chris Young 15, Ron Mahay 12, Doug Brocail 12
Game Information
Attendance - 33356
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Ed Montague, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Tony Randazzo