Red Sox 12, Phillies 1, 8 innings
BOSTON (AP)—Manny Ramirez’s best hitting game of the season was overshadowed by his flashy fielding.
He homered once, doubled twice and drove in five runs in Boston’s 12-1 rain-shortened win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
But the biggest cheers from the capacity crowd came after the left fielder, not known for his defensive prowess, made a backhanded diving catch in the seventh inning for one of his eight putouts.
“I think Dwight Evans is going to have nightmares tonight,” Ramirez said with a smile about the former Red Sox right fielder, an outstanding defensive player.
The game was called after a 49-minute rain delay with one out and no runners in the bottom of the eighth.
“I think the game was pretty much in hand,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “The bullpen didn’t do a very good job, and we just haven’t hit.”
Ramirez’s catch on Mike Lieberthal’s drive ended the seventh inning. Lieberthal was the last batter Pedro Martinez (8-3) faced in his two-hit, seven-inning performance, and the pitcher waited near second base to greet Ramirez.
“It was a great play. One of the best I’ve seen from an outfielder,” Martinez said.
“I’ve been struggling most of the year in the early part of the games,” said Martinez, who struck out two and walked two. “So I decided to work a little bit more in the bullpen on my breaking stuff.”
Kevin Youkilis hit two two-run doubles and David Ortiz homered to start an eight-run sixth—Boston’s biggest of the season. Seven of the runs came with two outs and three were off Roberto Hernandez, who relieved Paul Abbott (0-2) with the score 3-0 in the sixth.
“I’m fighting myself just to make quality pitches,” Hernandez said. “I haven’t done my job.”
Ramirez hit his AL-best 20th homer leading off the second, doubled in a run in the third and hit a three-run double in the sixth. He nearly had another homer, but Bobby Abreu reached over the short right-field fence to grab his long drive earlier in the sixth.
The homer went to center field, the first double to left and the second double to right.
“When you hit the ball with authority the other way,” Boston manager Terry Francona said, “you can pretty much cover the plate when you do that.”
The loudest cheers from the Red Sox’s 101st straight sellout crowd followed Ramirez’s diving catch after he ran hard from straightaway left.
“We know he can hit,” Boston’s Kevin Millar said, “but when he starts making web gems, we’ve got issues.”
Ramirez was hugged by teammates in the dugout, then stepped out and waved his cap as the fans gave him a standing ovation.
Thome’s homer came after Martinez sat in the dugout during Boston’s big sixth inning. Curtis Leskanic, released earlier this month by Kansas City, pitched a perfect eighth in his Red Sox debut.
Ortiz led off the sixth with his 18th homer, increasing his AL lead to 69 RBIs, before Abbott retired the next two batters. Abbott then walked Trot Nixon and allowed a single to Millar.
Hernandez replaced Abbott and gave up an RBI single to Jason Varitek, a two-run double to Youkilis and walked Johnny Damon to put runners at first and third. Mark Bellhorn singled in a run off Brian Powell, Ortiz walked and Ramirez capped the rally with a three-run double.
“This lineup is unbelievable,” said Youkilis, a rookie third baseman. “It seems like pitchers can’t breathe at all.”
Ramirez’s 20th homer broke a tie for the AL lead with New York’s Alex Rodriguez. He made it 2-0 in the third with an RBI double after Ortiz doubled.
Martinez retired the first seven batters before hitting Lieberthal with a pitch. He walked David Bell with one out in the fifth, then retired the next five batters. After Thome homered, Martinez walked Pat Burrell then retired thenext three batters, the last on Ramirez’s diving catch.
Abbott faced the Red Sox for the second time this season, the first with the Phillies. He was with Tampa Bay on April 28 when he allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings in a 6-0 loss at Fenway Park against Curt Schilling. … The Red Sox scored their previous season high of seven runs in an inning against Baltimore on April 7, against Tampa Bay on April 29 and vs. San Francisco onJune 18. … Only four of Philadelphia’s 24 outs came on grounders.