Ramirez hits homer No. 30, leaves after Renteria crash

BOSTON (AP) -- 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

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,

Wade Miller (4-4) went six innings for the win, and Curt
Schilling pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

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.

The Red Sox took the lead in the fourth on Kevin Millar's second
double of the game, Tony Graffanino's RBI single and Renteria's
sacrifice fly.

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.

Game notes
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.