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Boston (89-61) «40071100013110
Tampa Bay (88-60)001002200570

BoSox crush six homers, move into virtual tie with Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox flexed their muscles, nudging closer to first place in the AL East.

The defending World Series champions homered a season-high six times, overwhelming All-Star Scott Kazmir and division-leading Tampa Bay 13-5 on Monday night to pull within percentage points (.002) of ending the Rays' two-month stay atop the standings.

"These guys have been playing well all year long, and we haven't been playing well here at all," Boston reliever Mike Timlin said after the Red Sox won for the first time in seven games at Tropicana Field this season.

"It was an amazing game offensively for us. We've been working hard to get (to first place) and the Rays have been working hard to keep us from here. It just shows the perseverance of this team."

David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury homered for the Red Sox, who jumped on Kazmir for four runs in the first inning and never let up.

"That was just a good old-fashioned whippin' tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, adding that he doesn't expect it to have an adverse effect on his young team the next two games of the series.

"Believe it or not, this is an easier loss to accept. When you lose 2-1 or 3-2 on one play ... those are the ones you go home and kind of beat yourself up after."

The Rays (88-60) went 21-7 in August and were a season-high 5½ games up on Boston heading into September. They're 4-9 this month, with six of the losses coming against the Red Sox and Yankees, who took two of three from Tampa Bay over the weekend.

The Red Sox (89-61), on the other hand, have won three straight and 10 of 14 in September to get as close to the lead as they've been since mid-July, when they erased a five-game deficit in a week to pull ahead by a half game at the All-Star break.

While both teams are in excellent position to make the playoffs, neither wants to settle for the wild card.

"We want to finish first," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That's what you set out to do."

Ortiz, who finished with four RBI, hit a three-run homer in the first inning after Kazmir (11-7) threw nine straight balls to begin the game. Two batters later, Lowell hit a solo shot for a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox added seven more runs in the fourth, helping Daisuke Matsuzaka (17-2) become the first Japanese-born pitcher to win 17 games in a season. Hideo Nomo won 16 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers three times (1996, 2002, 2003).

Bay and Varitek homered in the fourth off Kazmir, who allowed nine runs and six hits in three-plus innings -- his shortest outing of the season. The four homers he yielded were a career high.

Kazmir said he didn't feel good warming up, and things only got worse as the night progressed.

"I'm really not going to get down on myself. I just didn't feel like that was me out there," the 24-year-old left hander said.

Youkilis hit his 26th homer, a two-run blast in the fourth, and added an RBI double in the sixth, both off Mitch Talbot. Ellsbury also homered off Talbot to give the Red Sox a 12-1 lead in the fifth.

The six homers were the most the Red Sox have hit in a game since Aug. 3, 2003, when they went deep six times against Baltimore.

Matsuzaka, who has won six consecutive decisions since last losing on July 28, allowed Akinori Iwamura's solo homer and two singles in five innings. Justin Ruggiano and Dan Johnson hit two-run homers off Red Sox reliever Chris Smith.

Timlin pitched the eighth for Boston, making his 1,051st relief appearance -- an all-time record for right-handed relievers. He had been tied with Kent Tekulve.

"Quite humbling," Timlin said of the record. "It's something I'd been eyeballing all season, and it's been out there slowly coming. I was not trying to be excited about it, but I probably will be when the season is over."

Notes

  • Ortiz was 7-for-37 with one homer and five RBI lifetime against Kazmir before his first-inning homer.
  • Kazmir had not allowed a home run to a left-handed batter since Baltimore's Aubrey Huff homered at Tropicana Field on Sept. 4, 2007.
  • Ortiz moved ahead of Edgar Martinez into sole possession of second place all-time for home runs as a designated hitter with 244.
  • Rays CF B.J. Upton, who hasn't played since Sept. 8 because of a strained left quad, could begin taking batting practice Tuesday.
  • Lowell said after the game that he's planning have surgery on his sore right hip after the season.
  • Iwamura has hit four of his six home runs against Boston.
 
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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Ortiz hits one of the BoSox's six homers, helping them pull within percentage points of first.  (AP)
Ortiz hits one of the BoSox's six homers, helping them pull within percentage points of first. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

D. Ortiz
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Tampa Bay

D. Johnson
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Boston Red Sox
Coco Crisp, CF3210300 .289
Dustin Pedroia, 2B3111102 .327
   a- Kevin Cash, PH-3B0000100 .231
David Ortiz, DH4224000 .265
    Chris Carter, PR-DH1100001 .667
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4123000 .312
   b- Jeff Bailey, PH-1B1000010 .270
Mike Lowell, 3B3111010 .275
    Alex Cora, PR-SS^2B0000100 .283
Jason Bay, LF4111021 .288
    David Ross, C1000001 .230
Jed Lowrie, SS-3B^SS2100301 .275
Jason Varitek, C3112013 .224
    Jonathan Van Every, RF1000010 .250
Jacoby Ellsbury, RF-LF5221001 .267
Totals3513111396  
a-walked for Pedroia in the 7th
b-struck out for Youkilis in the 8th
Batting
2B - Coco Crisp (16, Kazmir), David Ortiz (27, Talbot), Kevin Youkilis (40, Talbot)
HR - David Ortiz (19, Kazmir), Kevin Youkilis (26, Talbot), Mike Lowell (17, Kazmir), Jason Bay (30, Kazmir), Jason Varitek (13, Kazmir), Jacoby Ellsbury (8, Talbot)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (79), David Ortiz 4 (81), Kevin Youkilis 3 (105), Mike Lowell (73), Jason Bay (98), Jason Varitek 2 (40), Jacoby Ellsbury (45)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (21)
CS - Jacoby Ellsbury (9, 2nd base by Kazmir/Navarro)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cora-Lowrie-Bailey
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka (W,17-2) 5311271 2.93
Chris Smith 2444032 7.31
Mike Timlin 1000100 5.96
David Pauley 1000110 7.71
HBP - Longoria (by Daisuke Matsuzaka)
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 101-62, Chris Smith 49-30, Mike Timlin 8-4, David Pauley 19-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 2-6, Chris Smith 1-2, Mike Timlin 2-0, David Pauley 2-0
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 21, Chris Smith 10, Mike Timlin 3, David Pauley 4
Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B2111000 .278
   a- Willy Aybar, PH-2B2110102 .257
Jason Bartlett, SS2000010 .276
   b- Ben Zobrist, PH-SS3000014 .225
Carlos Pena, 1B2010000 .245
   c- Dan Johnson, PH-1B2112012 .300
Evan Longoria, 3B0000100 .281
    John Jaso, C2110010 .333
Cliff Floyd, DH3000004 .274
   d- Michel Hernandez, PH-DH1000000 .167
Dioner Navarro, C2000011 .293
    Justin Ruggiano, RF1112100 .231
Eric Hinske, LF-3B4000022 .245
Gabe Gross, RF1000100 .246
    Jonny Gomes, LF2000020 .174
Fernando Perez, CF4010020 .250
Totals33575411  
a-flied out for Iwamura in the 5th
b-struck out for Bartlett in the 5th
c-struck out for Pena in the 5th
d-grounded out for Floyd in the 8th
Batting
HR - Akinori Iwamura (6, Matsuzaka), Dan Johnson (2, Smith), Justin Ruggiano (2, Smith)
RBI - Akinori Iwamura (43), Dan Johnson 2 (3), Justin Ruggiano 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Dan Johnson 2 (2)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Pena-Bartlett-Talbot, Zobrist-Aybar-Johnson
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir (L,11-7) 3699424 3.50
Mitch Talbot 3544322 12.00
Juan Salas 2000210 7.11
Jason Hammel 1000010 4.54
HBP - Varitek (by Scott Kazmir), Lowell (by Mitch Talbot)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 72-39, Mitch Talbot 62-35, Juan Salas 34-22, Jason Hammel 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 1-5, Mitch Talbot 4-1, Juan Salas 2-3, Jason Hammel 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 19, Mitch Talbot 16, Juan Salas 8, Jason Hammel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 29772
Game Time - 3:20
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Jerry Crawford