<
>

Ortiz launches Nos. 51 and 52 to sink Twins

BOSTON (AP) -- David Ortiz's fans cheered him and his teammates
hugged him. Even the ace pitcher who gave up the slugger's
record-breaking homer was happy for him.

Boston's designated hitter homered against Johan Santana in the
first inning to pass Jimmie Foxx's team record of 50 set in 1938
and added his 52nd drive in the seventh to help the Red Sox beat
the Minnesota Twins 6-0 Thursday night.

Santana picked up his first loss since the All-Star break and
the Twins stayed a half-game behind AL Central-leading Detroit,
which lost to Baltimore 4-3 earlier Thursday.

Ortiz's first-inning homer far over the Red Sox bullpen in
right-center field provided a memorable moment in a forgettable
season. Boston is 8½ games back of the Twins for the wild card. The
lefty slugger added an even longer shot into the center-field
bleachers in the seventh.

"Great feeling, especially doing it here at home in front of my
fans," Ortiz said.

The loss ended the Twins' three-hour stay in first place in the
division and Santana's unbeaten record since the break.

"I'm very proud of all he's accomplished in his career. It's
unbelievable," said Santana (18-6), who came up in the Twins'
system with Ortiz. "The only way I wasn't going to give up a home
run to him was not to throw the ball."

On a rare off night, Santana was outpitched by Josh Beckett
(16-10), who allowed six hits, struck out five in eight innings and
passed the career high in wins he set last year. He walked none and
allowed just one runner past second base but was overshadowed by
Ortiz.

"It gave me chills after he hit 51 and then 52," Beckett said.
"You really want to win a game, especially when somebody
accomplishes such a feat."

Minnesota entered the game with a .001 lead in the division over
the Tigers. It was the first time the Twins had led the division
this season after the Tigers were alone in the top spot since May
20. The Twins still lead the wild-card race by 5½ games over the
White Sox, who lost to Seattle 9-0.

"We're concerned now about winning games and not about first
place," Justin Morneau said. "If we continue to win, we'll get
into the playoffs and that's what we're after."

With Santana pitching, Minnesota had an excellent chance to
boost its brief division lead. He was 9-0 since the All-Star break
this season and had a 31-2 record after the break over the last
three seasons. But he threw 100 pitches in five innings, matching
his shortest stint of the year, and the Twins lost for just the
third time in 13 games.

"Johan had a hard time locating his pitches," catcher Joe
Mauer said.

The Red Sox avoided elimination from the wild-card race. They
were eliminated from the AL East race Wednesday when their 8-2 loss
to the Twins clinched the division for the New York Yankees.

The record-breaking homer came on the first pitch Ortiz saw from
Santana, who tried to leave it outside but it tailed back in.

"Johan has the best stuff in the league," Ortiz said. "You
might get one pitch to hit and then everything you see afterwards
is nasty. So I was very prepared walking from the on-deck to the
plate and that was the pitch I was going to see and I tried not to
miss it."

His next homer came off Matt Guerrier. He broke his own record
of homers by a DH of 43 set last year and now has 45. His 52 homers
moved him into a tie for 12th in AL history.

With nine games left, he has an outside shot at Roger Maris' AL
record of 61, a mark that might have been easier to reach had he
not missed eight games recently with heart palpitations.

"There's a lot of possibilities," Ortiz said. "When that
happened to me I was swinging the bat pretty good."

When he returned to the dugout after giving Boston a 1-0 lead,
he was hugged by teammates who swarmed around him. But when he got
back there after his second homer, they gave him the silent
treatment for a few seconds, then smiled and laughed as they
surrounded him. After both homers, he left the dugout to salute the
applauding fans.

Ortiz hit his 50th homer Wednesday night, a solo shot off Boof
Bonser.

The Red Sox went ahead 4-0 in the second with a big boost from
Santana's pitching and fielding.

Singles by Carlos Pena and Gabe Kapler put runners at first and
second. Alex Gonzalez then attempted a sacrifice bunt. Santana
fielded it, dropped it, then threw wildly past first base. Pena and
Kapler scored and Gonzalez reached third. Mark Loretta's sacrifice
fly scored Gonzalez.

Guerrier replaced Santana and retired the first four batters he
faced. But with one out in the seventh, Ortiz hit the ball over the
center-field wall on a full count. Mike Lowell then hit the next
pitch over the left-field fence for his 18th homer and a 6-0 lead.

Game notes
Beckett got 11 straight outs starting with a double-play
grounder by Joe Mauer with runners at first and second in the
third. He struck out the side in the sixth. ... Jason Bartlett was
the only Twin with more than one hit. He had two singles, one that
didn't leave the infield. ... Ortiz increased his AL-leading totals
to 52 homers and 132 RBI. ... Beckett threw 103 pitches, 69 for
strikes.