ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- 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
"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
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
Darin Erstad of the Los Angeles Angels has 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.