ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Manny Ramirez hurt the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays again.
Ramirez has 26 homers against Tampa Bay, the second-most by a
Devil Rays opponent behind Carlos Delgado's 28 for Toronto.
"He's an unbelievable hitter," Boston manager Terry Francona
said. "It seems like he stays ahead of pitchers. He's just one of
the best hitters in the game."
Schilling (5-3) gave up five hits, walked one and struck out
five. With 2,603 strikeouts, he moved within seven of tying Chuck
Finley for 19th on the career list.
Johnny Damon also homered for AL East-leading Boston, which has
outhomered opponents 50-25 this season.
Ramirez has been bothered by a sore groin and was the designated
hitter for the fourth straight game.
"When we're in Boston, I'll play left," Ramirez said.
After Thursday's game on the artificial turf at Tampa Bay, the
Red Sox open a 10-game homestand Friday night.
Keith Foulke got four outs for his eighth save in eight chances.
With runners at the corners in the eighth, he relieved Alan Embree,
fell behind in the count 3-2, then retired pinch-hitter Jose Cruz
Jr. on an inning-ending grounder.
Foulke has converted 22 consecutive save chances. He has not
allowed a run in his last 12 outings.
Tino Martinez had an RBI double for the Devil Rays, who have
lost five straight and 12 of 13. Tampa Bay, a major league-worst
10-28, is 0-5 against the Red Sox this season, getting outscored
Damon hit a solo homer and Ramirez had a two-run shot that made
it 4-1 in the third. Ramirez's drive to center was his 356th homer,
which moved him past Greg Vaughn into 63rd on the career list, two
behind Yogi Berra.
"Manny doesn't make many mistakes at the plate," Damon said.
Ramirez is hitting .368. He has 21 hits in his past 53 at-bats
and has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games.
"Manny is probably one of the better hitters I've seen,"
Schilling said. "One of the best hitters that I've ever played
with, and I've played with some pretty good hitters. He amazes me
on a daily basis."
Damon was in the lineup one day after being hit in the neck and
having his helmet knocked off at second base by shortstop Julio
Lugo, who was running after a loose ball.
"Schilling is a very respectable pitcher," Tampa Bay manager
Lou Piniella said. "But I thought he was more hittable than I've
seen him before."
Tampa Bay is batting an AL-low .237. The Devil Rays have been
held to one run or less 12 times this season.
"I wish we had a formula," Piniella said. "I wish I would say
a magic word. I wish I could sprinkle some magic dust around here,
but that's not the case."
David Ortiz put the Red Sox up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the
first. Tampa Bay tied it on Martinez's double in the bottom half.
Tampa Bay's Rob Bell (0-1), making his first start this season,
gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. He was called up
from Triple-A Durham before the game.
The game was delayed six minutes before the bottom of the
third so the grounds crew -- at Schilling's request -- could work on
the mound. "The hole (near the rubber) was a little bit too
deep," Schilling said. "Had I known it was going to be that long
(of a delay), I would have told them to forget it. They had to run
out to center field to get the stuff to fix the mound." ...
Schilling became the 20th pitcher to reach 2,600 strikeouts when he
struck out Huff in the third. ... Ramirez is 8-for-15 with three
homers against Bell. ... Tampa Bay 2B Geoff Blum stole second in
the second. The Devil Rays have been successful on their last 16