Red Sox 7, Rangers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—As if the Boston Red Sox didn’t have enough going for them.
The team with the best record in baseball now has surging Manny Ramirez on their side.
Ramirez had four hits and keyed a five-run sixth inning with an RBI triple to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 7-4 Saturday night.
Ramirez is 8-for-12 in his past three games and his batting average has improved 84 points in May to .272.
“Manny really looks like he’s in a groove,” Boston third baseman Mike Lowell said. “When he’s stinging the baseball like that, when he’s going up the middle, that’s when he’s the most dangerous. It seems like he’s done nothing so far, but he’s still on pace to have a great season.”
“It’s surprising for any team to have this kind of lead at this point of the season,” Lowell said. “I’m not going to lie, I look at the standings because I like baseball.”
The Red Sox fell behind 4-2 in the fifth before they rallied for a big inning against the team with the worst record in the American League.
Ramirez lined a fastball into the right-field corner that scored Kevin Youkilis, who led off the sixth with a single. Ramirez belly-flopped into third for his first triple of the season and his sixth since 2001.
Youkilis capped the inning with a run-scoring walk that put Boston ahead 7-4.
Ramirez was 4-for-4 and fell a home run short of the cycle. He also singled in the second, doubled in the seventh and singled in the ninth.
Texas’ Sammy Sosa was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in his pursuit of becoming the fifth player in major league history to hit 600 home runs. He has 598.
Tim Wakefield (5-5) snapped a personal two-game losing streak by allowing four runs and five hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked one.
“When you can score a lot of runs early, it makes the starting pitcher’s job a lot easier.” Wakefield said. “You can do a lot of damage control. You have some wiggle room.”
Vicente Padilla (2-7) allowed six runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for his second loss of the season to Boston.
The Rangers have lost four straight and nine of 12 overall.
Padilla’s outing did not help a pitching staff that came into the game with a league-worst 6.21 ERA.
Despite their troubles, Texas manager Ron Washington said he will not make any changes to the starting rotation.
“We’re going to stay the course because we believe these guys are going to improve,” Washington said. “We’re not going to give up on them. I believe in these guys and they believe in themselves.”
Boston sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth against the Rangers. The Red Sox had four hits and drew four walks.
After Ramirez’s triple brought Boston within 4-3, he came home on Padilla’s wild pitch.
J.D. Drew walked and Lowell singled to knock Padilla out of the game.
The Rangers finally got out of the inning when David Ortiz, who flew out to deep center earlier in the sixth, grounded out to first.
Texas scored three runs in the fifth on Laird’s two-run double and Kenny Lofton’s sacrifice fly.
Padilla allowed one hit through three innings before Boston scored two in the fourth.
Youkilis extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a leadoff double in the fourth. Ortiz and Ramirez then walked to load the bases.
Youkilis and Ortiz scored on the play to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
Sosa doubled to lead off the second and came home on Marlon Byrd’s RBI single.
The Rangers purchased Byrd’s contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. … Boston has won nine of its past 13 games at Texas. … LHP John Rheinecker allowed one hit in five scoreless innings during a rehab start at Oklahoma City. He has been on the disabled list since March 31 with a back injury.