Boston manager Terry Francona has to be enjoying this.
Not only are his Red Sox in first place in the AL East, but they’re beating up on the team that fired him five years ago.
Winners of five straight and 11 of their last 12 games, the defending world champions look to complete a three-game series sweep of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Though Francona downplayed the importance of returning to Philadelphia this weekend, he has to be taking added pleasure in Boston’s dominance of the Phillies during the first two games of the interleague series. He managed Philadelphia from 1997-2000, posting a 285-363 record.
Manny Ramirez hit his 408th career homer in the ninth, moving him ahead of Duke Snider into 38th place on the career list, as Boston moved 1 1/2 games in front of second-place Baltimore in the AL East.
“We’ve been swinging the bats good,” Boston slugger David Ortiz said. “When this team gets hot swinging the bats, it’s from top to bottom.”
Philadelphia pitchers have allowed 15 runs and 24 hits in the series, and the Phillies’ struggling offense has stranded 27 runners.
“We’ve not only got to start hitting, we’ve got to start making plays and playing heads-up ball,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re better than what we’re playing now.”
Philadelphia has lost eight of its last eight games and will have to deal with Boston left-hander David Wells on Sunday. Wells has won three straight starts and is 4-0 over his last five outings.