BOSTON (AP) -- Boston's hitters are slugging the ball all over
Fenway Park again -- and onto the street beyond.
The Red Sox broke out of a rare slump with 14 hits, including
homers by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and Derek Lowe won his
fifth straight decision in an 8-2 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
on Monday night.
That followed a series against the Chicago White Sox in which
Boston managed just 19 hits while losing two of three.
"You look over long periods of time, not short periods of
time," said catcher Jason Varitek, who knew Boston's offense would
revive. "Everybody's contributed."
Lowe did his part, improving to 5-0 over his last seven starts
after going 1-3 in his previous six. He allowed two runs and four
hits in eight innings.
Through five innings, he gave up one hit, and Boston led 4-0
against the team he pitched a no-hitter against on April 27, 2002, in Fenway Park.
"When you're a sinkerball guy, you get in a good rhythm and you
like your chances," said Lowe, who got 17 of his 24 outs on
grounders, six on strikeouts and one on a fly ball. Scott Sauerbeck
finished the four-hitter.
Boston stopped a two-game losing streak and increased its lead
in the AL wild-card race to 1½ games over Seattle, which lost at
Every Red Sox starter had at least one hit. Ortiz and Ramirez had a homer and a double apiece, and Ramirez added a single.
"Ortiz has been a big-time guy," Kevin Millar said. "To hit
behind Manny Ramirez, the best hitter in the big leagues, you need
a big left-handed hitter behind him, and Ortiz has filled that
Ortiz has 27 homers and 67 extra-base hits among his 118 hits.
Boston has 605 extra-base hits, two short of the major league
record Seattle set in 1996.
One of them was Ramirez's 34th homer of the season, a drive well
over the seats atop the Green Monster in left field.
"The little rats are scurrying over there in that warehouse
across the street," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "It is a
Told it was a parking garage, Piniella said, "It was hit a long
way. That's really what I was trying to say."
Ortiz's 11th homer in 23 games put Boston ahead 1-0 in the
second against Jorge Sosa (5-11), and Ramirez's homer made it 6-2
in the seventh.
Boston has hit a team record 219 homers, two behind major
The Red Sox made it 3-0 in the fourth on a double by Ramirez, an
RBI double by Ortiz and a fielder's choice groundout by Gabe Kapler. Millar singled home a run in the fifth.
"The more experience, you can be more patient, more selective"
at the plate, Piniella said. "With a younger lineup, you're not
going to be as patient. And I think you saw a little bit of both."
The homer was the first off Lowe in 59 innings since the
Yankees' Jason Giambi connected July 27 in Boston.
"When he gets his sinker going, it's as good as it gets," Huff said.
Boston has 13 games left, all against sub-.500 teams, six
against the Devil Rays.
"Nothing is easy," Red Sox manager Grady Little said. "They are not
going to quit playing until that game is over with. And that is
largely attributed to their manager."
Mueller went 2-for-4 to increase his AL-leading batting
average from .329 to .331. Ramirez is second at .326... Millar's
run-scoring single in the fifth gave him 90 RBI and sent home
Boston's 900th run of the season. Boston has four players with at
least 90 RBI for the first time since 1986 and scored 900 runs for
the fifth time, the first since 1996. ... Huff's homer broke a
stretch of 21 2/3 shutout innings by Lowe against Tampa Bay in
Fenway Park. That stretch began when Lowe pitched the no-hitter.