Ramirez just misses cycle, keys Red Sox comeback against Rangers


• Summary: Manny Ramirez hit his first triple since April 29, 2006, went 4-for-4 and flirted with hitting for the cycle in Boston's win. Ramirez also lined a fastball into the right-field corner that scored Kevin Youkilis to help start the Red Sox's sixth inning rally.


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• Unsung hero: Youkilis was 2-for-4 with a double and scored twice. He has an 18-game hitting streak and he's hitting .443 during that span.

• Figure this: The first three hitters in the Rangers' lineup (Kenny Lofton, Michael Young and Mark Teixeira) were a combined 0-for-11 against the Red Sox.

• Figure this II: Boston has won 10 of its last 14 games while Texas has lost four straight and nine of its last 12.

• Quotable: "Manny really looks like he's in a groove. 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." -- Boston third baseman Mike Lowell, on Ramirez

-- ESPN.com news services

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."

Boston has an 11-game cushion over second-place Toronto in the American League East and an 11 1/2 game lead over the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

"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."

Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 12th save in 13 chances. Gerald Laird hit a fly ball to center with runners on first and second to end it.

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.

Coco Crisp gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead with an RBI single to center off reliever Joaquin Benoit. Alex Cora added a sacrifice fly and Youkilis drew an RBI walk to put the Red Sox ahead 7-4.

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.

Drew grounded to first and Mark Teixeira threw to second to get the out. But Michael Young's throw back to first got past Padilla for an error.

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.

Game notes
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.