Then it was Mike Timlin to the rescue Sunday night.
He pitched out of a tight jam after Ramirez fell down on a fly
ball and preserved the streaking Red Sox's 6-5 win over the Chicago
"Every time I hit one, David hits another one, so we're on a
good pace," Ramirez said Sunday night after he and Ortiz hit
back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning.
Boston, with 12 wins in its last 15 games, moved within 5½ games
of the New York Yankees in the AL East, the first time the Red Sox
have been that close since June 28. They also have a one-game lead
in the AL wild-card race.
"That's one thing you don't want to do. When we start thinking
about the Yankees, we start playing terrible for some reason,"
Ortiz said after the Red Sox swept three from the White Sox for the
first time since Sept. 26-28, 2000.
"We'll see at the end. We don't have time to think about the
Yankees or anything like that," he added.
After taking the lead in the top of the eighth, the Red Sox
nearly let it slip away in the bottom half.
"It wasn't wet, I just slipped out there," Ramirez said.
"Timlin did an awesome job. He picked me up right there. Things
like that are going to happen, that's why you got teammates."
Davis was the first batter Timlin faced and as he watched
Ramirez slip, he said "No, no, no."
"He put his right hand down and I saw him reach up with the
glove and, OK, he's got a chance to make a great play and then the
ball was behind him," Timlin said.
"At that point there was nothing I could do. I just told myself
I got to go out and get the next two guys."
The White Sox lost for the 19th time in 27 games and fell under
.500 for the first time since April 8.
The Red Sox staked Derek Lowe to a 4-0 lead that he couldn't
hold. Paul Konerko's three-run homer in the fifth got Chicago back
in it, and Carlos Lee's two-run homer in the seventh put the White
Sox ahead 5-4.
But Ramirez hit Freddy Garcia's first pitch of the eighth for
his 33rd homer, and third of the series, giving him 11 RBI in the
Ramirez was 0-for-3 when he came to the plate.
"I threw a slider to the middle of the plate and he hit it real
good. But he was the hitter I wanted to face," Garcia said.
"He was the best shot against Ramirez we had," Chicago manager
Ozzie Guillen said. "My gut feeling was that he was the man to get
But he didn't.
Damaso Marte (4-5) relieved and Ortiz -- who entered in an
0-for-15 slump -- hit his first pitch to right-center for a 6-5
lead. Ortiz's 31 homers match a career high set last year.
"You will have bad weeks, bad months, even bad years, but
people see you still trying and that's me," Ortiz said. "The last
couple of days they had been pitching me good."
Lowe lasted 6 2-3 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs.
Garcia went seven-plus, allowing seven hits and five runs.
Johnny Damon and Orlando Cabrera opened the game with singles
off Garcia and when Ramirez grounded to short, second baseman
Willie Harris took the flip and his relay throw sailed past first.
Ramirez got the RBI and moved to second on the error.
Ortiz and Jason Varitek followed with RBI doubles to put the Red
Sox ahead 3-0.
Doug Mientkiewicz, who made a nice stop at first after the White
Sox had two runners on in the first, homered in the second -- his
first with Boston since he was traded from the Twins last month.
Konerko's 31st homer came after Harris singled and Aaron Rowand
reached on an infield hit when Harris beat third baseman Bill
Mueller's throw to second.
The six-game winning streak matches the Red Sox's longest
this season set from April 23-29. ... Plate umpire Charlie Reliford
made Garcia remove a bracelet from his left wrist before the first
pitch. ... Ramirez now has 380 career homers, giving him sole
possession of 50th place on the career list.