Youkilis, Red Sox hold off another Texas rally

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BOSTON (AP)—With his shaved head and hustling style, Kevin Youkilis will never be mistaken for Manny Ramirez.

But there is one similarity, at least lately—the power Youkilis has brought to the cleanup spot held by Ramirez until he was traded July 31.

Youkilis doubled in each of his first three at-bats Wednesday night, leading another hitting outburst that gave the Boston Red Sox an 8-4 win over the Texas Rangers.

“You can’t worry about where you hit,” Youkilis said. “When you go up there it’s not like they put a number on you saying you’re hitting fourth today.”

He delivered a day after his three-run homer gave the Red Sox a 19-17 victory, a win that came after they blew a 10-run cushion. Youkilis homered twice in that wild win.

Youkilis “has had a phenomenal offensive year,” Boston’s Jason Varitek said. “We’ve known about him as a hitter, but now he’s added some power.”

In seven games batting fourth since Ramirez left, Youkilis is 10-for-25 with two home runs, five doubles and eight RBIs. His 22 homers are six more than the career high he set last year, his 83 RBIs match his best total and he’s only two points behind AL batting leader Johnny Damon.

“He comes to play hard. He come up with big hits,” first baseman Sean Casey said. “The energy he brings, you can’t measure it.”

Youkilis became more valuable after Mike Lowell went on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained left oblique muscle. Lowell had 14 homers and 67 RBIs after leading the team with 120 RBIs last year.

“You’re never going to replace any guy on this team. You just try to manage when they’re gone,” Youkilis said.

Texas trailed 8-0 in the eighth inning, but Milton Bradley’s three-run homer made it 8-4. The Rangers then put their first two batters on base in the ninth before Ian Kinsler—leading the majors in hits—grounded into a double play and Texas fell short of another big comeback.

“Last night we were able to make it up, but tonight you can’t keep expecting to try to make that up,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.

Jon Lester (11-4) held the top-hitting team in baseball to seven hits in 7 1-3 innings. He left shortly after Kinsler’s solo homer, and the Red Sox got a mini-scare later in the eighth when Mike Timlin allowed Bradley’s 20th home run.

“We made it a little more interesting than we needed to,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Javier Lopez got the final two outs of the inning and Justin Masterson worked the ninth.

A day after the Red Sox and Rangers matched the highest-scoring game in AL history, Boston broke away early against the team with the worst ERA in the majors.

The Red Sox scored twice in the second inning, four in the third and two more in the fifth off Luis Mendoza (3-6).

“I’m frustrated,” Mendoza said. “I don’t know what to say. Disappointed.”

Youkilis and Jason Bay hit consecutive two-run doubles in the fourth and Jed Lowrie doubled in two more in the fifth.

Lester pitched at least seven innings for his seventh straight outing. He was 7-0 in a span of 10 starts before losing last Friday 4-0 to the White Sox in Chicago.

Lester never had more than one runner on base in any of the first seven innings before running into trouble in the eighth.

“When they did get a hit,” Lester said, “I was able to get a ground ball.”

Youkilis started the second with his first double, moved up on Bay’s single and scored on catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia’s throwing error.

In the fourth, Mendoza intentionally walked David Ortiz, loading the bases, and Youkilis lined his second double. And in the fifth, Youkilis doubled, sending Ortiz to third, and both scored on Lowrie’s double.

In Mendoza’s only other game against Boston, he gave up seven runs in three innings in an 11-3 loss April 18 at Fenway Park.


Texas CF Josh Hamilton left the game after striking out in the sixth to go home to his wife, who gave birth to their third child Wednesday. He missed the last plane home and planned to leave Thursday morning. … Dustin Pedroia is the first player in Red Sox history with five runs and five hits in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He accomplished the feat Tuesday night. … The Red Sox recalled first baseman-outfielder Jeff Bailey from Triple-A Pawtucket after the game and returned RHP David Pauley, who had been called up before the game.

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