BOSTON (AP) -- A couple of swings by Manny Ramirez made Matt
Clement's Fenway debut a lot easier.
Ramirez ended his longest homerless drought to start a season
with a grand slam and a two-run shot for the Red Sox, and Matt
Clement won his first start in Boston, a 6-2 victory over the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays on Saturday night.
"What can I say?" Clement said after pitching seven strong
innings. "The guys played great. Manny single-handedly won the
Earlier in the day, Boston manager Terry Francona was asked
about Ramirez and reiterated that things will turn around soon.
Judging by the slugger's career numbers it wasn't a bold
prediction, but he was proved correct a few hours later.
"I don't want to say the first one came out of nowhere,"
Francona said, "but he check-swinged the first pitch and he looked
a little frustrated and then -- boom -- he puts on a perfect swing."
Ramirez hit a two-run shot in the third inning, his 39th at-bat
this season. In 2003, he didn't connect until his 35th at-bat. He
hit his 18th grand slam in the sixth.
Clement (1-0), signed as a free agent during the offseason after
pitching for the Cubs last year, gave up one run and seven hits
while striking out six and walking two.
Boston grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third when Ramirez homered over
the seats above the Green Monster. Johnny Damon singled leading
off, then moved to third on consecutive wild throws by Dewon
Brazelton. The first was on an errant pickoff attempt, and then he
threw a wild pitch.
Ramirez, who left the clubhouse before the media arrived after
the game, entered the night hitting just .211 with four RBI.
"It's bad business walking people in front of Manny Ramirez and
David Ortiz," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "It's bad
business. ... You make the other guys hit the ball."
Ramirez's 18 slams are the most among active players and tied
for third all-time with Robin Ventura and Willie McCovey. Lou
Gehrig leads with 23.
Alex Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with a double and three singles for
the Devil Rays.
Brazelton (0-3) remained winless in his career on the road,
dropping to 0-12 in 16 starts. He allowed six runs on six hits in 3
2/3 innings while walking six and striking out one.
"There are no excuses for what happened," Brazelton said. "It
was just bad. I was horrible."
Toby Hall's RBI single gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the second.
It was Ramirez's 40th career multihomer game. ... Tampa
Bay's Jorge Cantu doubled in the second, extending his
season-opening hitting streak to 11 games, second longest in Devil
Rays' history behind Rocco Baldelli's 13 in 2003. ... Brazelton is
0-7 in his last 10 starts. ... Kevin Millar has two hits in his
last 23 at-bats. ... The crowd cheered when a note was flashed on
the center-field board with the Yankees' loss and their worst start