BOSTON (AP) -- Maybe another week off would have done Kenny Rogers some good.
Rushed into the rotation when his suspension for shoving two
cameramen was cut from 20 games to 13, Rogers gave up Manny Ramirez's long home run in a five-run fourth inning Wednesday night
and the Boston Red Sox scored nine more off the bullpen in the
eighth to beat the Texas Rangers 16-5.
"We struggled," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "A lot
of people struggle in Boston."
The Red Sox won their fourth straight game and their 12th in 14
tries to move 5½ games in front of the New York Yankees in the AL
East. It's Boston's biggest lead in the division since the end of
the 1995 season.
"It's good to have a little cushion," Red Sox outfielder Gabe
Kapler said. "But it's not going to be easy."
Bronson Arroyo (10-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in 7 1/3
innings. He took a 7-1 lead into the eighth before Texas scored
four runs off four Boston pitchers to cut the lead to 7-5.
Mike Timlin needed one pitch to end the threat, getting Kevin Mench to line out to left, where a charging Ramirez caught the ball
backhanded. Boston answered with a season-high nine runs in the
bottom half to win its 11th consecutive game at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox scored 35 runs in their three-game sweep of Texas.
"This team's firing on all cylinders," Timlin said. "We're
Rogers (11-5) allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings,
walking one and striking out five in his first loss since July 3.
He took a line drive off his right forearm in the first but stayed
in the game and retired the first eight Boston batters; X-rays were
"Kenny was pitching well until he got hit by that line drive
and he battled his way through five innings," Showalter said.
Asked if he thought the layoff affected Rogers, Showalter said,
"I think what he got affected by was the line drive by David
Rogers was suspended 20 games by commissioner Bud Selig for a
June 29 tirade in which he shoved two cameramen. On Tuesday, an
arbitrator trimmed the punishment to 13 games and Rogers joined the
Rangers in Boston to get ready for his first start since July 26.
"The ultimate punishment you can give a player is to keep him
away from the game and his team," left fielder David Dellucci
said. "It's great to have him back on the mound and in the
The Fenway fans were ready for Rogers, with one holding up a
sign during batting practice that said, "Kenny Should Play Nice."
When he took the mound for the bottom of the first, he was jeered
resoundingly; the boos stopped only when he was hit near his glove
by Ortiz's comebacker to end the inning.
Rogers took extra warmup pitches at the start of the second
while pitching coach Orel Hershiser looked on. Rogers was not
available for comment after the game.
Rogers was spared an even worse night when umpire Derryl Cousins
turned Kapler's would-be homer into a double. Ironically, it was a
TV cameraman who captured how lucky Rogers was: Video clearly
showed the ball bounced beyond the red line along the top of The
Wall that signifies a home run.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was able to control his temper
when arguing with Cousins, the third-base umpire, but outfielder
Trot Nixon, who's on the disabled list, was ejected from the
dugout. Kapler was stranded at second when Johnny Damon lined out.
But Rogers had no such luck in the fourth. Edgar Renteria and
Ortiz singled before Ramirez hit one over the Green Monster seats.
With one out, Kevin Millar singled, Tony Graffanino doubled and
Bill Mueller singled to score one run before Kapler's groundout
made it 5-1.
Boston made it 7-1 in the seventh when Renteria doubled and
scored on Doug Brocail's wild pitch, and Graffanino hit an RBI
Rogers' ERA, which had been second-best in the AL at 2.77,
rose to 2.99. ... The Rangers, who lead the majors with 189 homers,
were held homerless for three straight games for the first time all
season. ... Hank Blalock had three hits for Texas. ... Barbara Bush
threw out the first pitch, bouncing it to her husband, former
President George Bush, in honor of turning 80 in June. ... Damon,
who leads the AL in batting, singled in the eighth to extend his
hitting streak to 14 games. ... Ramirez raised his major
league-leading RBI total to 107. ... Boston sent 13 batters to the
plate in the eighth.