Back-to-back homers propel Sox

SEATTLE (AP) -- Faced with the prospect of falling another game
behind the New York Yankees in the AL East, the Red Sox didn't want
to fly back to Boston after another tough loss.

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz hit consecutive homers to key
Boston's eight-run fourth inning, and the Red Sox held on for a 9-7
win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

With the victory, the Red Sox remained seven games behind the
New York Yankees.

"The Mariners were coming, coming, coming and our bullpen was
on fumes," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We've got a long
flight back and a lot of baseball to play, but we survived and
that's all we wanted to do today."

Derek Lowe (8-9) gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings
and won for just the second time in six starts. Lowe had to come
out because a blister on his right thumb broke. The blister problem
has bothered him during his career, especially in hot weather.

"Derek couldn't even feel the ball the last couple of
hitters," Francona said.

Lowe said the blister began bothering him in the fourth inning.

"It's just frustrating because it alters the way you have to
pitch," he said. "It's really not a lot of fun. Sometimes it's
worse than others. Maybe it's something we need to look into during
the offseason."

Keith Foulke, who pitched two innings the previous night, got
three outs for his 15th save in 20 chances. But the Red Sox had to
sweat this one out.

Ichiro Suzuki led off the ninth with his fourth hit and stole
second -- his career-high fourth, tying a Mariners record. Foulke
walked Randy Winn to put runners on first and second with no outs,
but then struck out Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez and Bucky Jacobsen
to end it.

"Let me tell you something, the last three hitters he faced, I
think that's as good as he's thrown the ball for a long time,"
Francona said. "He was crisp."

Foulke gave up home runs to Miguel Olivo and Edgar Martinez of
Seattle with one out in the ninth Monday night to tie the score at
4. The Red Sox wound up losing 8-4 in 11.

He made 41 pitches Monday night and another 21 less than 24
hours later.

"If I would have had to sit through another day of stinking
like I did last night, I might not have made it back to Boston,"
Foulke said. "I felt better today than I did yesterday. Today was
one of those days when I wasn't fighting myself mechanically."

Willie Bloomquist and Edgar Martinez each had two RBI for
Seattle, which had a season-high 18 hits but tied a club record
with 16 left on base.

Ortiz hit his 26th homer, a three-run shot off Joel Pineiro
(5-11), and Ramirez followed with his 27th -- a 430-foot solo shot
to center -- in the fourth to give the Red Sox an 8-1 lead.

Ortiz noted the Red Sox faced a last-place team that didn't play
like one.

"What is wrong with those people?" he said. "They haven't
been doing that good before we came the house and now they're
playing some good games."

Trot Nixon hit a two-run single, and Mark Bellhorn and David
McCarty each singled in runs in the fourth as Boston equaled its
biggest inning of the season.

In his shortest start of the season, Pineiro lasted 3 2-3
innings. He gave up eight runs on seven hits and four walks.

"I was the only negative thing for us today," Pineiro said.
"I kind of messed this one up for us."

Ortiz also had a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and leads the AL
with 87 RBI.

The Mariners crept within two runs in the eighth on Martinez's
RBI single and Scott Spiezio's fielder's choice, but Jolbert
Cabrera flied out against Alan Embree with the bases loaded.

"We had them on the run," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "I
felt like they were limping pretty good the last couple of innings
and we were going to get them."

The Mariners set a club record with six stolen bases and tied a
team mark with 16 runners left on base.

Game notes
Boston also had an eight-run inning June 25 against
Philadelphia. ... The Red Sox have hit consecutive homers five
times this season, twice by Ortiz and Ramirez. ... The Red Sox
batted around for the 28th time this season in the fourth. ... Red
Sox 2B Pokey Reese, who came out of Monday night's game after
batting in the third inning because of a strained rib cage in his
right side, was out of the lineup Tuesday. He will undergo an MRI
when the team returns to Boston on Wednesday. Francona thinks Reese
hurt himself in the batting cage "a couple of days ago." ...
Melvin said LHP Ron Villone, who allowed one run in six innings
Monday night in his second start of the season, will remain in
Seattle's rotation. Villone's next scheduled start is Saturday
night against Anaheim. ... Olivo, who came to Seattle in a trade
with the Chicago White Sox for Freddy Garcia June 27, committed his
third passed ball in six games with the Mariners. He has seven this