Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 9, 10 innings

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Matt Clement was conscious and alert, and that meant more to the Boston Red Sox than beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and holding onto first place in the AL East.

Clement was carted from the field and taken to a nearby hospital after Carl Crawford’s line drive caromed off the right side of the pitcher’s head for an RBI single in the third inning of a game the World Series champions later rallied to win 10-9 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

“He was calm. He knew what was going on. He never blacked out,” Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon said. “That was definitely a great sight to see that he was talking, knew where he was and what was going on.”

Clement could be seen blinking his eyes when he was lifted off the ground and strapped onto a stretcher, and Boston medical director Dr. Thomas Gill later issued a statement saying a CT scan was negative.

“I have spoken with Matt and his doctors in Florida,” Gill said. “Matt himself never lost consciousness and is in good spirits. … He appears to be doing well, but will stay in the hospital for precautionary purposes and will be re-evaluated in the morning.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona planned to visit Clement in the hospital.

“I talked to his wife. The medical people have talked to her, and he’s talked to her,” Francona said. “He’s OK. All the tests came back (negative). He’ll be re-examined. … Hopefully everything will be OK, and he can go home with us.”

The game resumed after an 11-minute delay with Chad Bradford replacing Clement and the Red Sox leading 5-1. Three batters later, Aubrey Huff hit his second grand slam in five nights for Tampa Bay to tie the score.

Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek and Damon homered for the Red Sox, who snapped an 8-8 tie on Damon’s solo shot on the first pitch of the 10th from Danys Baez (5-3). Varitek added an RBI double to give Curt Schilling (3-4) a two-run lead.

The Devil Rays scored on Travis Lee’s RBI double in the bottom of the 10th, but Schilling held on for his second victory as a reliever since returning to the Red Sox after missing two months with an ankle injury.

Damon made a leaping catch of Jorge Cantu’s drive at the center-field fence in the bottom of the ninth to keep the game tied.

“I hit it to the farthest place in the park,” Cantu said. “Any other park, that ball would have gone out.”

The teams have gone to extra innings two games in a row after the Red Sox played their first 98 games without going to extras, a major league record.

The Red Sox, who would have fallen one percentage point behind the New York Yankees in the standings with a loss, fell behind twice in the middle innings. Both times, they bounced back.

Bill Mueller erased a 6-5 deficit with an RBI single off Trever Miller in the seventh, then made it 8-all in the ninth with an RBI double that followed Varitek’s solo homer off Baez.

Ramirez hit his 28th homer, a two-run shot off starter Mark Hendrickson in the first. The Red Sox tacked on three more for a 5-0 lead when they scored on a wild pitch and RBI singles by Doug Mirabelli and Kevin Millar in the third.

After he was hit, Clement remained on the ground and barely moved for about five minutes before he was lifted onto the stretcher and immobilized with a neck brace. Replays showed the force of Crawford’s liner knocked the pitcher completely off his feet.

Concerned teammates gathered around Clement as medical personnel attended to him on the mound. The crowd of 24,029—most of them red-clad Boston fans— cheered as he was carted off through a tunnel behind home plate.

“You just never want to see anybody in that kind of situation,” Crawford said. “They gave me the medical report, so I’m just glad he’s OK.”

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella echoed that sentiment.

“That’s the best thing about this ballgame,” Piniella said. “We were concerned that the way he got hit, as flush as he got hit, that there would be some problems.”


The Red Sox also lost Trot Nixon in the third inning with a strained oblique muscle in his left side. The right fielder grimaced and clutched his side after swinging and missing a pitch from Hendrickson. He will have an MRI on Wednesday. … Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving threw out the first pitch. … Ramirez has 32 career homers against Tampa Bay, tied with Carlos Delgado for the most by an opposing player. He also has more RBIs (108) against Devil Rays pitching than anyone else. … Huff is 3-for-4 with the bases loaded after going through an 0-for-17 stretch dating to Sept. 3, 2002.

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