Red Sox 14, Rangers 6

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BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Red Sox no longer need to rely so heavily on Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

While Ramirez hit two of Boston’s five home runs, the Red Sox used a balanced attack, amassing a season-high 21 hits to rout the Texas Rangers 14-6 on Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.

“With everyone back (healthy), it’s just the added confidence that everyone needed,” said Red Sox second baseman Mark Bellhorn, who tied a career high with four hits, including a homer and three RBI.

“Manny and David have carried us, but now up and down the lineup we know we can get it done.”

Bellhorn, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jason Varitek also homered for the Red Sox, who have their longest winning streak since also winning five in a row May 21-26. Boston roughed up Kenny Rogers, who entered leading the majors with 12 wins.

The Red Sox’s Nos. 1-4 hitters—Johnny Damon, Bellhorn, Garciaparra, and Ramirez—went a combined 15-for-21 with four homers and 10 RBIs. Bellhorn, Garciaparra and Ramirez each had four hits.

“The top of our lineup tonight was unbelievable,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Derek Lowe (7-8) got off to a rough start, allowing six unearned runs in the second inning—including Hank Blalock’s grand slam.

But the Rangers’ 6-3 lead didn’t last long. The Red Sox scored five runs off Rogers (12-3) in the bottom of the second. Bellhorn and Ramirez each hit two-run homers in the inning to put the Red Sox up 8-6 and end the night for Rogers.

“As frustrating as it was to give up six in the second inning, it was that much more rewarding to see (us) continually score runs,” Lowe said.

It was the shortest start of the season for Rogers, who gave up eight runs over just 1 2-3 innings. The loss snapped a career-high, personal eight-game winning streak. Rogers refused comment after the game, but said his pulled right hamstring was not a factor in his poor performance.

“I tip my hat to the Red Sox,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “They’ve done that to a lot of good pitchers this year.”

Bellhorn’s 11th homer came after he committed two errors at second base in the top of the second that led to the Rangers’ unearned runs.

Lowe, who allowed 17 earned runs in 16 1-3 innings in losing his previous three starts, held the Rangers in check after the second, surrendering only one hit over his last five innings. He gave up four hits before being relieved by Alan Embree in the eighth inning.

“The one pitch to Blalock, he left a fastball up that got hammered,” Francona said. “But he continued to make them put the ball in play. And then he came back after that inning and was fantastic.”

The Red Sox added three more runs in the third inning off John Wasdin on Garciaparra’s double and Ramirez’s second two-run homer—his AL-leading 25th.

Ramirez tied his season high for RBIs in a game with five when he singled in the fifth.

Varitek’s two run shot in the eighth—his 10th—gave the Red Sox a 14-6 lead.

Garciaparra, the Red Sox’s DH, hit a two-run homer to put the Red Sox on top 3-0. He has 18 hits in his last 35 at-bats, including his fourth homer of theseason—third in his last eight games.


Damon has hit in 15 straight games, and has seven straight multihit games. … Bellhorn tied his career high for hits. The last time he had four hits in a game was with Oakland against Boston on Aug. 21, 1997. … The homer by Garciaparra was the first of his career when not starting at shortstop. … The Rangers activated center fielder Laynce Nix before the game and optionedrookie right-hander Nick Regilio to Triple-A Oklahoma.

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