Tampa Bay (4-7) at Boston (6-5)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Apr 17, 2005
  • TV: FSFL, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Manny Ramirez appears to be breaking out of his season-opening slump as the Boston Red Sox look to complete a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Ramirez ended his longest homerless drought to start a season with a grand slam and a two-run shot to lead the Red Sox to a 6-2 win over the Devil Rays on Saturday.

He entered the game batting just .211 with four RBIs, but hit his first homer over the Green Monster in the third inning—his 39th at-bat this season.

The slugging outfielder, who connected on his 35th at-bat in 2003, followed with his 18th career grand slam—the most among active players. The slam tied him for third all-time with Robin Ventura and Willie McCovey. Lou Gehrig leads with 23.

Boston manager Terry Francona said before the game it was only a matter of time before Ramirez would turn things around.

“I don’t want to say the first one came out of nowhere,” Francona said, “but he check-swinged the first pitch and he looked a little frustrated and then—boom—he puts on a perfect swing.”

Ramirez is the second Red Sox player to hit a grand slam in as many days. David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-13 slump with one in a 10-0 rout of the Devil Rays on Friday.

The pair look to help the Red Sox figure out Tampa Bay rookie Scott Kazmir, who threw six shutout innings against Boston in his only start at Fenway Park on Sept. 14.

At 20 years, eight months and 21 days, Kazmir became the youngest left-hander to beat Boston at home since Hal Newhouser did it for the Tigers on Aug. 3, 1941.

“It was probably something I’ll never forget,” said Kazmir, who is 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA in two career starts against Boston, with 15 strikeouts in a combined nine 1-3 innings. “That was bigger than my Major League debut.”

Boston will counter with veteran right-hander Tim Wakefield, who has dominated the Devil Rays in his career, going 10-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 24 career games, including 14 starts.

Alex Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with a double and three singles Saturday for the Devil Rays, who have lost five of their last six games.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Kazmir Oak vs. T. Wakefield Bos
10-9 Record 16-12
3.77 ERA 4.15
174 K 151
100 BB 68
1.46 WHIP 1.23