BOSTON (AP) -- Manny Ramirez disappeared into the Green Monster
again and emerged from the scoreboard with a sign that said it all.
"New Episode: Manny being Manny.""He can carry all the signs he wants," Red Sox manager Terry
Francona said after Ramirez had a three-run homer and a run-scoring
single to lead Boston to a 6-4 victory Tuesday night over the
Kansas City Royals."He had a smile on his face, and he swings the bat with
authority. I'm glad he put the sign down before the game started."It was Ramirez's first start since the trade deadline, when the
Red Sox shopped him around before deciding not to unload their
quirky slugger and the $64 million he will earn through 2008.
Ramirez responded with the go-ahead single on Sunday and four more
RBI on Tuesday to give him a major league-leading 97 and propel
Boston to its sixth consecutive victory."That's him, man," designated hitter David Ortiz said.
"That's the Manny everybody knows."It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Royals, who have the
AL's worst record after being swept in four games by Tampa Bay --
the league's second-worst team -- last weekend.Tim Wakefield (10-9) allowed four runs and six hits and struck
out seven in seven innings, retiring 15 of his last 16 batters to
move into third place on Boston's career victory list. Only Cy
Young and Roger Clemens, who won 192 apiece, have more."I'm truly honored and blessed to be mentioned with Cy and
Roger and Mel Parnell and Luis Tiant and those guys," said
Wakefield, the longest-tenured member of the team. "I owe it to
all of my teammates -- not only the guys I'm playing with this year
but to the 350-plus guys I played with my whole career here."Curt Schilling pitched the ninth for his sixth save overall and
fourth in a row.Wakefield gave up two singles and Matt Stairs' three-run homer
in the first inning. Chip Ambres added a solo shot in the third to
put the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.But Ramirez made it 4-3 with his shot to straightaway center in
the fourth off Runelvys Hernandez."He actually made a pretty good pitch to Manny," Royals
manager Buddy Bell said. "But, as you know, Manny has done that
before."Boston rallied for three runs against Ambiorix Burgos (1-4) in
the seventh to take the lead.Jose Cruz Jr., making his Red Sox debut, walked and was replaced
by pinch-runner Adam Stern. Tony Graffanino singled and, when right
fielder Emil Brown let the ball get past him for an error, Stern
scored to tie it and Graffanino went to second.Johnny Damon singled to give Boston a 5-4 lead. Ortiz singled
with one out and Ramirez singled to score Damon, his 97th RBI.Burgos gave up three runs and four hits in one inning. Stairs,
Ambres, Mike Sweeney and Angel Berroa each had two hits for the
Royals.Hernandez allowed three runs in six innings in his second
straight no-decision. He has not lost in five starts since July 1.
Eleven members of the Royals' 25-man roster had never
played against the Red Sox. ... Boston optioned RHP Jon Papelbon to
Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Cruz, who was acquired in a
trade with Arizona on Saturday. ... Boston's last home winning
streak of more than five games was an 11-game run from Aug. 16 to
Sept. 3 last year. ... Wakefield celebrated his 39th birthday. ...
John Buck tagged out Boston's Gabe Kapler at the plate in the
eighth, holding onto the ball when Kapler barreled into him. ...
Ramirez, who is tied for the AL lead with 29 homers, has seven
homers in his last 14 games. He has seven games this season with
four or more RBI. ... Ortiz, who usually hits before Ramirez in
the batting order, has walked at least once in five consecutive
games and nine of his last 10. ... Damon has seven go-ahead RBI