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Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Ramirez boosts Boston past Royals, 8-4

April 10, 2002

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— The Kansas City Royals made the mistake of giving Manny Ramirez something to hit.

"We had a plan to pitch to him, but stay out of the center of the plate," Royals manager Tony Muser said after Ramirez homered with runners on second and third to help Boston beat Kansas City, 8-4, Tuesday night. "It didn't work out."

Brian Daubach had three hits, including a home run, and Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek also homered as Boston collected 15 hits to help Tim Wakefield (1-0) earn his first victory as a starter since Aug. 4.

In addition to his first home run of the year, Ramirez doubled and reached on a two-base error. He entered with only two hits in four games, though he was tied for second in the AL with six walks.

"It's nice to see him get a couple of hits," Red Sox manager Grady Little said. "They've been pitching him pretty tough. (He's had) no pitches to hit."

Starting because of injuries to John Burkett and Dustin Hermanson, Wakefield struck out four and walked none. He allowed three of his five hits in the fifth inning before Chuck Knoblauch's grand slam cut the Boston lead to 5-4.

But the Red Sox answered with two more runs when Garciaparra homered to lead off the bottom half and chase Dan Reichert (0-2). Ramirez hit a 400-foot double, and Daubach hit a blooper less than half that far that he stretched into a two-base hit.

Varitek homered leading off the sixth to make it 8-4, and Casey Fossum and Willie Banks each pitched two hitless innings of relief to close it out.

Reichert allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out one. Daubach homered to put Boston up 2-0 in the second, then Johnny Damon beat out an infield hit and Garciaparra doubled in the third.

Ramirez took two balls before the count went to 3-2. He put the next pitch in the seats to make it 5-0.

"It was my mistake, and I paid for it," Reichert said. "Manny is one of the top hitters in the game, and I made a mistake in his wheelhouse."

Wakefield bounced between the rotation and the bullpen last year, when he went 9-12 with a 3.90 ERA. He pitched once in relief this year in a game that was wiped from the books because of rain.

He is expected to start again against the New York Yankees on Sunday.

Wakefield had allowed only an infield hit to Joe Randa before Randa reached on another infield hit to open the fifth. Raul Ibanez singled and, one out later, Carlos Febles singled to load the bases.

Knoblauch followed with a 362-foot fly that dropped into the screen above the Green Monster, carried by a 23 mph wind. It was Knoblauch's fourth career grand slam, and first since Aug. 13, 1999.

Notes: Kansas City played with only 24 active players, waiting until Wednesday to activate pitcher RHP Nate Field. ... The Red Sox announced they will make up an April 3 rainout with a day-night doubleheader against Toronto on July 2. ... Randa stole his first base of the season. ... The Royals (2-4) have not posted a winning record in April since 1989. ... Boston has outhomered its opponents 13-3 in the first five games.

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