Manny Ramirez homered, drove in five runs and got into a shouting match with a teammate as Boston beat Tampa Bay 7-1 on Thursday night in a game that included a bench-clearing brawl between the clubs.
TV cameras showed Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis being separated after exchanging words in the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. Ramirez pointed at Youkilis before being escorted down the runway toward the clubhouse by trainer Paul Lessard and a few players.
Boston manager Terry Francona felt emotions were still running hot after the earlier brawl.
"I think they were just exchanging some views on things," he said, trying to downplay his players' near altercation. "It was kind of a hectic night. Sometimes those things happen. It wasn't really a big deal; it won't be a big deal."
The Red Sox posted their 13th straight home win, matching the majors' longest streak in nearly two years, and completed their second three-game sweep of the Rays in a little more than a month.
The fight on the field started after Boston's Coco Crisp was hit on the right hip by a second-inning pitch from James Shields. Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound and ducked a wild right by Shields before throwing a few punches himself.
Crisp was tackled to the ground by Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp and threw several punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground.
Crisp, who had a scratch on his forehead and right cheek, was most upset with what happened under the pile.
"I charged the mound. [Shields] tried to hit me with a punch," Crisp said. "I'm not upset at all. We fought. That's all it is. There were some cheap shots there. [Carl] Crawford came sliding in. I don't know why he was pulling hair, scratching. After that it was three, four guys on one."
Crawford didn't deny that he may have pulled Crisp's hair.
"There was a lot of stuff," he said. "It could have been. There was a lot of pushing and shoving at the bottom."
Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected.
"It's simple," Gomes said, when asked what he was doing when he got to the mound. "I'm just going out there for my pitcher's defense."
As for the dugout incident, Dustin Pedroia and Crisp both said they didn't know what happened.
"I really didn't see it," Pedroia said. "I was running out onto the field. We're around each other a lot, but we love each other. We're a team."
"You have to ask them," Crisp said. "I was eating next to Youkilis and said I don't want to know. I saw Manny. He was speaking in Spanish."
The tempers between the teams carried over from Wednesday's game when Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon felt Crisp "intentionally" tried to hurt Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura with a hard slide when he was caught stealing.
"I protected my own players and that's what we need to do around here," Shields said. "We've been getting stomped around the last 10 years and it isn't going to happen anymore. I had to let them know early and let them know right away."
Crisp said he was upset with shortstop Jason Bartlett, not Iwamura, after Bartlett put his knee down in front of the bag on Crisp's successful steal in the sixth Wednesday, saying he sprained his left thumb on a headfirst slide.
Jon Lester (4-3), making his first Fenway start since his no-hitter against Kansas City on May 19, gave up one run and eight hits, struck out five, hit two batters and didn't walk anyone in 6 1/3 innings. Mike Timlin worked 1 2/3 hitless innings and David Aardsma got the final three outs.
Ramirez's three-run homer -- the 503rd home run of his career -- gave Boston a 3-0 lead in the first. Pedroia was hit on the left elbow by Shields (4-4) and J.D. Drew doubled before Ramirez's drive cleared the seats above the Green Monster.
Ramirez's right knee appeared to buckle when he took a pitch from Dan Wheeler in the seventh. Ramirez continued to flex his leg after drawing a walk before leaving for pinch-runner Kevin Cash one batter later.
Gomes' RBI single made it 3-1 in the second, but Pedroia had a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
Drew's bases-loaded walk and Ramirez's two-run single through the shortstop hole made it 7-1 in the fourth.
Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a strained right wrist after making a diving catch of Evan Longoria's fourth-inning liner. X-rays were negative and Ellsbury is day-to-day. Ellsbury will be examined in the morning by the team's medical staff.
Boston swept Tampa Bay in Fenway Park from May 2-4, the only other time the Rays have been swept this season.
The Minnesota Twins had the most recent 13-game home winning streak, from June 11-July 2, 2006. ... With the Celtics opening up the NBA Finals against the Lakers about three miles away Thursday night, the starting time was pushed up one hour. Former Celtic John Havlicek threw out the first pitch after a montage of basketball highlights were shown on the center field scoreboard. ... Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... First baseman/outfielder Chris Carter was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game and Brandon Moss was recalled.
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