ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox might have a
comfortable lead in the AL East if it wasn't for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay has won seven of 10 games against Boston at Tropicana
Field this season, including two of three during the weekend
"That game got away from us," Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta said. "This building hasn't been too friendly to us. They
had some great at-bats against some or our better pitchers.
Sometimes they get you."
Norton sent an opposite-field drive into the left-field stands
on a 2-0 pitch from Julian Tavarez (2-4). Boston, second to the New
York Yankees in the AL East, dropped two games back for the first
time this year.
"We've been up two or three games on the Yankees," Loretta
said. "Now we're down a couple of games. I think it's going to
seesaw like that."
"We're not machines," Timlin said. "We're not going to hit
every spot every time. It just seems right now when we do miss,
they're hitting the ball."
Papelbon, who blew his fourth save in 34 chances, has allowed
runs in only four of 49 appearances. His ERA rose from 0.49 ERA to
"We didn't finish the game," Red Sox manager Terry Francona
said. "Obviously we had a four-run lead. We felt good about where
we were, and it didn't end up the way we wanted it to."
Boston had threatened in the top of the 10th when Coco Crisp
singled with one out off Brian Meadows and stole second. Loretta
flied out, Ortiz was intentionally walked, Shawn Camp (4-0)
relieved, and Manny Ramirez flied out.
Tampa Bay didn't considered intentionally walking Ramirez.
"When you load the bases for a guy, that really puts a ton of
pressure on the pitcher," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"What you tell a pitcher in that situation, which I told Camper,
is go for the strikeout. Don't give in on any count. Even if you
walk him, that's OK. So you give him a lot of leeway there to
approach that situation."
Ortiz became the first Red Sox player to hit 40 homers in three
consecutive seasons, hitting a solo home run during a three-run
fifth as Boston took a 5-2 lead. Only two other Boston players --
Carl Yastrzemski (1967, 1969, 1970) and Ramirez (2001, 2004, 2005)
-- have hit 40 or more homers in three seasons.
Kevin Youkilis made it 6-2 with an RBI single in the sixth, but
Ben Zobrist hit two-run double in the seventh Manny Delcarmen.
Zobrist also hit his first major league homer, a third-inning drive
off Jason Johnson.
Johnson, who lost his previous seven starts, gave up two runs
and three hits in six innings. Tampa Bay's J.P. Howell allowed five
runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Ramirez extended his career-best hitting streak to 22-games with
an eighth-inning single. His fly ball to right-center landed
between right fielder Russell Branyan and center fielder Damon
Hollins, who appeared to have communication problems on the play.
Cora had an RBI single during a two-run second that put the Red
Sox ahead 2-0. The second run scored when Navarro was charged with
an error for not handling Branyan's throw to the plate.
Youkilis scored the first run from second after colliding with
Navarro after the catcher had Branyan's throw get past him. By the
time Howell retrieved the ball, Wily Mo Pena scored from first.
Johnson retired eight in a row before Zobrist homered in the
third. Zobrist, who made his big league debut Tuesday, had one hit
in 17 at-bats before his homer.
Jorge Cantu's RBI grounder tied the score in the fourth.
"That was a very rewarding win," Maddon said, "having to come
back as we did against this team, who normally comes back against
Francona has battled flulike symptoms the past few days. He
slept on a sofa in the manager's office Saturday night instead of
going to the team hotel. ... Ortiz has six homers and 14 RBI in
his last 10 games. ... Boston C Javy Lopez, obtained Friday from
Baltimore, was rested after playing in Saturday night's game. He
popped out as a pinch hitter in the 10th and is 0-for-10 with the
Red Sox. ... Crisp was 1-for-6 with four strikeouts. ... Jackson
was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game. RHP Dan Miceli
(right shoulder) was activated from the 60-day DL.
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