Ramirez, Ortiz help Red Sox stop Yankees' win streak at eight

BOSTON (AP) -- Manny Ramirez might be happier if the Red Sox traded him. On Sunday night he showed why they shouldn't.

The quirky slugger caused a pregame stir by saying he'd be open to a deal. Then he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in a revived Boston offense that ruined the New York Yankees perfect post-All-Star break record with a 9-2 win.

Curious comments and stinging line drives -- just Manny being Manny.

"Manny says a lot of things," Mike Lowell said. "Some of them are entertaining. Some of them make you roll your eyes and spin your head. But it seems like every time after he says something he goes 3-for-4 so maybe we should encourage him to say something like that."

Trading their cleanup hitter, who is 22-for-47 in his last 13 games, seems unlikely for a team just one game behind AL East leader Tampa Bay and two ahead of third-place New York, which is 8-1 since the All-Star Game.

Especially now that Ramirez has been reunited with David Ortiz in the heart of the order.

In his third game since missing 45 with a left wrist injury, Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs.

"We still have to have time to get David more at-bats and keep that tandem working," Jason Varitek said. "It's good to have an offensive day, but it was still led by our starting pitching."

Jon Lester (9-3) stayed unbeaten since his last loss on May 25 with his sixth win in nine starts despite working out of trouble in four of the first five innings. He could relax with a 7-0 lead after four. Boston finished with 15 hits.

In losing the first two games of the series, the Red Sox managed four runs and 12 hits.

"Hopefully, we get some runs early and I hold it." Lester said. "It definitely felt like a different atmosphere in the dugout tonight. Guys were laughing, having fun, seemed like they were going up to the plate more relaxed."

The Yankees lost a chance for a sweep that would have tied them with the Red Sox for second place.

"We had a good series," manager Joe Girardi said. "We could have had a great series."

The Red Sox slumping hitters capitalized on a rare poor performance by a New York starter.

They scored in each of the first four innings -- seven runs -- against Sidney Ponson (6-2), who hadn't lost since May 26. It was only the second time in 17 games that a Yankees starter allowed more than three earned runs.

"It's a downer because we were going so good," Ponson said. "I don't know what to say. I pitched like crap."

Before the game, Ramirez said "if the Red Sox think they can find a trade that's going to make their team better and both sides are going to be happy, I'm going to agree."

But he didn't think that would happen by the non-waiver trading deadline Thursday.

"Manny swung the bat great," manager Terry Francona said. "That's what we need. That shouldn't be a surprise."

Four of the Red Sox first five hitters hit safely in a three-run first inning. Ramirez's RBI double was followed by Lowell's two-run single. Ramirez scored on that hit after running through a stop sign by third base coach DeMarlo Hale.

Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly in the second and Varitek doubled in a run in the third after batting just .147 in his previous 45 games and striking out in his first at bat Sunday.

Boston made it 7-0 in the fourth on Ortiz's 14th homer of the year -- and first since May 31 -- into the right field seats after Pedroia's double.

The Red Sox added two runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Ortiz and an RBI single by Ramirez.

Lester, who pitched a shutout at the Yankees on July 3, allowed five hits in the first four innings. Then he escaped a potentially damaging fifth.

The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Melky Cabrera, Jose Molina and Johnny Damon. Derek Jeter then singled in a a run with a slow roller to third before Bobby Abreu walked, making it 7-2. Then Lester shut the door.

He retired Alex Rodriguez on a liner to third, Xavier Nady on a fly to center and Robinson Cano on a grounder back to the mound.

"We put ourselves in a decent position there in one inning," Damon said, "but [Lester] battled through it and showed why he's one of the better pitchers around."

Lester retired the side in order in his last two innings, finishing by setting down his last nine batters.

Game notes
The start of the game was delayed 52 minutes by rain. ... Ramirez got his 1,668th RBI in the first inning, breaking a tie with Sammy Sosa for 23rd on the all-time list. ... Abreu reached safely in his 25th game at Fenway Park, including all 20 he's played with the Yankees. ... Boston's Bartolo Colon, on the disabled list since June 17 with a stuff lower back, plans to throw on the side Monday. He threw 35 pitches in his previous side session. ... New York's Hideki Matsui, sidelined since June 22 with a left knee injury, is scheduled to hit both off a tee and soft toss pitches on Monday before the Yankees home game against Baltimore.