Red Sox 9, Angels 3

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BOSTON (AP)—David Ortiz didn’t have to worry about sprinting around the bases on Thursday night.

A day after his RBI triple helped Boston beat Anaheim, Ortiz homered in consecutive innings to give the Red Sox to a 9-3 victory and complete a three-game sweep of the Angels.

“That triple last night killed me,” the 6-4, 230-pound first baseman joked. “I was dead from running. But I feel good now.”

The Red Sox won their fourth in a row to remain 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees, a 7-5 winner over Texas, in the AL East race. The Red Sox took a 1 1/2 -game lead in the AL wild-card race over Oakland.

The World Series champions have lost five in a row, and they are just 4-17 since the All-Star break.

“Everybody on our club is busting their butts,” shortstop David Eckstein said. “But things aren’t working out.”

Ortiz homered to lead off the second, and Nomar Garciaparra also homered in the inning as Boston sent nine men to the plate. That brought Ortiz up to lead off the third, and he hit his 16th homer just inside the right-field foul pole to make it 7-1.

Tim Salmon doubled and scored in the fourth, then homered in the sixth to make it 7-3 before Ortiz came up with a runner on third in the seventh. He was intentionally walked to avoid further damage, but Kevin Millar singled to make it 8-3.

“He’s been one of the hottest hitters in the league,” Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said of Ortiz. “It’s like, ‘Pick your poison,’ because the guys behind him are terrific hitters, too.”

Ortiz has 11 homers in his last 28 games after hitting just four through the first 55 games of the season. His last 12 hits have been for extra bases.

“I think when his teammates started referring to him as Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre, he kind of adjusted his swing a little bit,” Boston manager Grady Little said.

John Burkett (9-5) allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings. He has won six of his last eight decisions to lower his ERA, which was as high as 6.28 in May, to 4.80.

Ramon Ortiz (13-9) lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk. Tim Salmon had three hits, including a homer, and Bengie Molina also homered for the Angels.

Jason Varitek was 3-for-4 with a homer for Boston, and Garciaparra and Bill Mueller had three hits apiece.

Molina homered to lead off the third, but he left the game after the inning when he took a foul ball off his right hand. The catcher was taken to the hospital for X-rays, which were negative; he has a sprained right thumb and isdoubtful for Friday.

Notes

David Ortiz has six multihomer games in his career—four of them are this year, his first with the Red Sox. … The Red Sox decided to start Derek Lowe in the early game of Friday’s doubleheader to make sure he gets his start in if there’s rain. Casey Fossum, who had been penciled in for the first game, will start Game 2. The Orioles have Rick Helling going in the first game and Eric DuBose in the second. … The Red Sox have homered in each of their last 11 games. The last time they’ve done that was Sept. 18-28, 2001. They’ve homered in 17 of their last 18 games. … With the 266th double of his career, Garciaparra moved into a tie with John Valentin for 10th place on Boston’s all-time list. … A steady but light rain began falling in the third inning,but the game was never stopped.

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