BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez charged in from left field and Edgar Renteria ran out from shortstop. They collided, leaving fans silent and the Boston Red Sox hopes for a healthy stretch drive on the ground.
After a few minutes, though, they got up and walked to the dugout without any apparent serious injuries. Then the Red Sox went on to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 Wednesday night and open a 4½-game lead in the AL East, their biggest of the season, over the New York Yankees.
Ramirez, who hit his AL-leading 30th homer in the first, left the game after the collision in the second and was listed as day-to-day with bruises on the right side of his face and chest. Renteria stayed in the game until he left with sore ribs for pinch hitter Doug Mirabelli in the seventh.
They were hurt when Ruben Gotay lifted a fly to short left field that Ramirez caught for the third out.
"I knew when it was hit they were definitely going to be in trouble unless somebody called the ball," said Johnny Damon, who watched from center field. "Those guys are so important to our team, we need them to get healthy as quick as possible."
Before leaving, Ramirez hit a three-run homer for the second straight day in his only at bat.
"If that's what we get, one at bat, that's the way to do it," Damon said.
Ramirez also suffered a bloody nose and was replaced by Gabe Kapler in the field in the third. Renteria may play Thursday afternoon in the finale of the three-game series.
"I think everything's fine (with Ramirez), but we'll need to check on him in the morning," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Since efforts to trade him fell through before Sunday's 4 p.m. deadline, Ramirez has been on a tear. His pinch single drove in the winning run in Sunday's 4-3 win over Minnesota, and his three-run homer helped Boston beat Kansas City 6-4 Tuesday night.
Wednesday's homer increased his major league-leading RBI total to 100 and the Red Sox matched their season high with their seventh straight win, while the Royals fell to 0-6 on the road trip that ends Thursday.
"It was bad," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. "We didn't play very good (in) any phase, offensively, defensively, pitching."
The Royals took a 4-3 lead with two runs in the second and two in the fourth. Boston then scored twice in the fourth off Kyle Snyder (0-3) and twice in the fifth, sending eight batters to the plate in each inning.
"I made quite a few bad pitches in the first inning," Snyder said. The Red Sox have "as good a hitting offensive club that there is in the big-leagues."
And Ramirez is their most dangerous hitter.
"We hit hard," Renteria said. "I thought Manny was going to be all right because he's a big man. I'm so skinny."
Ramirez's homer made him the seventh major-leaguer to reach 30 homers and 100 RBI in at least eight straight seasons. The others are Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Babe Ruth and Albert Belle.
Ramirez and Foxx are the only players in Red Sox history with five consecutive 30-homer seasons.
Damon led off the game with a walk, took second on Renteria's single and was thrown out at home on David Ortiz's single. Ramirez then hit the first pitch from Snyder into the seats in left.
But Miller, who missed his last scheduled start with shoulder stiffness, allowed a two-run homer by Emil Brown, his 10th, in the second, then gave up two runs in the fourth on Mike Sweeney's 16th homer and Angel Berroa's RBI single.
Boston made it 7-4 with two unearned runs in the fifth, one scoring on shortstop Berroa's second error of the game and the other on Andrew Sisco's wild pitch.
- Ramirez's homer was his 100th hit of the season.
- Boston RF Jose Cruz Jr. got his 1,000th career hit with a single in the fourth.
- Berroa made just four errors in his previous 44 games before making two in the first five innings Wednesday.
- John Buck of the Royals was 1-for-18 before his double in the seventh.
- The Red Sox won their season-high seventh consecutive home game.
- Francona said the Red Sox would put 1B John Olerud on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and call up 1B Roberto Petagine from Triple-A Pawtucket.