Manny's two-run blast keys Red Sox's four-run rally in eighth inning

BOSTON (AP) -- After a difficult series against Boston's rival, Manny Ramirez has responded with a game-winning hit and a game-tying home run on back-to-back nights against the Minnesota Twins.

Ramirez hit a two-run homer as part of a four-run eighth inning rally to help the Boston Red Sox edge the Twins 6-5 on Tuesday night.

"It's a tough loss, one we thought we had," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We made a lot of mistakes, they blooped one to left, blooped one to right and next thing you know Manny hits one into the seats."

It was the second straight game Ramirez came through in the eighth inning to rally the Red Sox. His 17th homer of the season on Tuesday came off Twins reliever Matt Guerrier (4-4) and tied the game 5-5.

"We had a terrific inning, a lot of good things happened," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Last night was what we needed, but sometimes you need a home run."

Ramirez drove home Boston's only run in a 1-0 victory on an RBI single Monday night against Minnesota. He was 2-for-8 with four strikeouts against the New York Yankees over the weekend.

One out after Ramirez's home run, Kevin Youkilis doubled and Brandon Moss slapped a single up the middle for the go-ahead run.

"I think we were in a really good situation," Moss said. "Even though we were down by three, we had our leadoff guy coming up in Jacoby [Ellsbury], [Dustin] Pedroia, who's been on fire, J.D. [Drew] and Manny. I don't think anybody was surprised to see Manny go deep in that situation, he's done it so much."

David Aardsma (3-2) got the final two outs in the eighth for the win. Jonathan Papelbon escaped trouble in the ninth for his 27th save.

Ramirez struck out with a runner on third against Mariano Rivera with two outs in the ninth inning of Sunday night's 5-4 loss and was a quiet 2-for-8 with no RBI's in the four-game set against New York while hitting .225 overall in the month of July.

On Tuesday, Boston trailed 5-2 going into the eighth. Ellsbury doubled, Pedroia singled and Drew's RBI fielder's choice narrowed the gap to 5-3 before Ramirez's homer.

Nick Punto led off the ninth for Minnesota with a double and went to third on Denard Span's sacrifice. Papelbon then struck out pinch-hitter Jason Kubel before getting Alexi Casilla to groundout and end the game.

Boston starter Jon Lester allowed five runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings.

"This feels real good," Lester said. "We played better than our record showed on the last road trip, but last night was a big win for us and we just continue to battle."

Nick Blackburn pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs and six hits for Minnesota.

"It's always disappointing when you're winning by three runs in the eighth and you go out there and give up four," Guerrier said. "Especially coming close to the All-Star break and with the way Nick pitched today against a good team."

Despite the loss, the Twins starting pitching improved to 16-1 in the last 23 games with an ERA of 2.99. Minnesota snapped a 13-inning scoring drought and Lester's 12 inning shutout streak when they scored three with two out in the fourth inning highlighted by a two-run triple by Brendan Harris giving the Twins a 2-1 lead. Punto followed with an RBI single to increase the Twins lead to 3-1.

The Twins extended their lead to 4-1 in the seventh inning after Harris doubled and Span singled him home. Span started his eighth straight game for the injured Michael Cuddyer and is hitting .391. Boston cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Moss.

Drew gave Boston a 1-0 lead when his first inning RBI double scored Ellsbury.

Game notes
Mardy Fish, the top seed at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, RI threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Pedroia extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with his sixth-inning single. ... Casilla had his hitting streak snapped at 15 games.

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