Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 6
“Not the way he was pitching,” said Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford, who lined a ball off Clement’s head the last time the Devil Rays faced the Red Sox. “Everyone knew he’d come back and pitch well. I’m just happy he’s OK.”
Clement (12-3) limited Tampa Bay to one run and three hits in five-plus innings on Monday night, getting first-inning homers from Johnny Damon and David Ortiz and then waiting out a 1 hour, 43 minute rain delay to lead Boston to a 10-6 victory.
Ortiz added another homer in the seventh—his fourth in the last three games. Damon’s homer was his first in Boston’s first at-bat since he hit one to start Game 4 of the World Series.
Damon also had a sacrifice fly and made an error before leaving the game when he was hit on the hand with a pitch. He had a bruise below the fourth knuckle of his left hand, and X-rays were negative.
“There’s not a man in here that doesn’t realize that Johnny makes us go,” said Gabe Kapler, who replaced Damon in the outfield and made a diving catch to end the game after Tampa Bay scored twice in the ninth. “He’s the catalyst.”
On a day when the Red Sox lost left-handed ace David Wells to a six-game suspension, Clement won for the second time in eight starts since his All-Star game appearance. The last time he faced the Devil Rays he lasted just 2 1-3 innings before Crawford’s liner sent him to the ground.
“The toughest part is when you go out there and see that the other guy isn’t pitching and think, ‘Man, am I dumb for doing this?”’ Clement said of returning after the rain delay. “But once I got out there I loosened up pretty good.”
John Olerud had three of Boston’s 13 hits. It was the 11th consecutive home game in which the Red Sox scored seven runs or more, but only a few thousand fans in the sellout crowd were around at the end shortly after midnight.
Damon misplayed a popup for an error in the fifth that helped the Devil Rays get within 3-1. But Boston scored four times in the bottom half to chase Corcoran.
Boston turned four double plays in the first six innings, including one in the fourth when second baseman Alex Cora faked out Crawford on a line drive to right. Cora convinced the runner that Jorge Cantu’s ball was a grounder; by the time Crawford wised up, Trot Nixon had doubled him off first base.
After Damon greeted McClung with a homer, Edgar Renteria shot one to right— just foul—before grounding out to the pitcher. Ortiz made it 2-0 with his 34th of the year, then added No. 35 in the seventh to make it 8-2.
Damon’s leadoff homer was the 16th of his career in the regular season. He also hit one to start Game 4 of the Series when the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first title in 86 years.
Boston claimed RHP Chad Harville off waivers from the Houston Astros. … RHP Keith Foulke is scheduled to make another rehab outing at Single-A Lowell and be activated on Sept. 1. … McClung was attempting to become the first Tampa Bay pitcher to win five games in a month. He is leaving the team because of the death of his grandmother. He will return on Thursday.
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