Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 4
BOSTON (AP)—Trot Nixon insists trade rumors haven’t affected him.
Nixon went 3-for-4 and tied his career high with five RBIs. As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, there has been speculation that Boston may deal Nixon to bolster its pitching.
“If it happens, it happens,” Nixon said. “I always remember this is a business. Players get traded day in and day out.”
“That was a momentum shift,” Harper said.
Todd Walker doubled, Manny Ramirez was intentionally walked and David Ortiz doubled to make it 6-4. After Bill Mueller walked, Nixon homered into the center-field seats off Al Levine, his sixth career slam.
With Boston leading 3-2 in the sixth, two players slowed up on the same play, preventing the Red Sox from extending their lead.
Jeremy Giambi lofted a fly ball off the left-field wall, but he was thrown out at second by Carl Crawford trying to stretch the hit into the double and was tagged second baseman Marlon Anderson before Nixon crossed the plate.
Nixon, who began the play on first, slowed down as he approached home and Giambi stopped between first and second.
“We’ve battled back a lot this year in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings,” Nixon said. “We don’t get down.”
Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Boston has won five straight overall and 15 of 17 in Fenway Park.
“We don’t get surprised when (big innings) happen with this ballclub,” Red Sox manager Grady Little said.
“It was quick for a seven-run inning,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “Our bullpen just didn’t do the job.”
Scott Sauerbeck, acquired from Pittsburgh on Tuesday, pitched a scoreless eighth in his Red Sox debut.
Tampa Bay starter Jeremi Gonzalez gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.
Nixon homered in the third. It was his fifth multihomer game, his first at Fenway.
“It was just one of those days where the offense did a great job,”Wakefield said.
Poor baserunning by Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra led to double plays that ended the first and second innings. Each player misjudged popups that were caught by infielders in the outfield and were doubled up trying to get back. … Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella argued twice in the first four innings on close plays. … Garciaparra turned 30 and went 0-for-4 and was the only Boston starter not to get a hit. On his birthday last year, he homered his first three times at-bat and drove in eight runs in a 22-5 win over Tampa Bay at FenwayPark.