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Red Sox lengthen AL East lead to 7½ over Yankees

• Heroes: David Ortiz, Bobby Kielty and J.D. Drew all went deep for the Red Sox. Drew ended a 51-game homerless drought while Kielty hadn't homered since last Sept. 19.

• Unsung hero: Boston's Julian Tavarez won his first game since June 20. He held Chicago to two hits and fanned seven.

• Figure this: The Red Sox outscored the White Sox 46-7 in the series. Their run total was the most for the franchise since it scored the same amount against the St. Louis Browns in 1949.

• Quotable: "How many pitchers can you start, put in the bullpen and let them sit for two weeks, and then have a legitimate chance to throw six innings? That doesn't happen very often." -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona

-- ESPN.com news services

Red Sox 11, White Sox 1

CHICAGO (AP) -- With September looming, Boston looks like the
team to beat. The Chicago White Sox look like the team anyone can
beat.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer, and J.D. Drew and Bobby Kielty
ended long homerless droughts to back Julian Tavarez's first win
since late June as the Red Sox finished a four-game sweep of
Chicago with an 11-1 victory Sunday.

Strangely enough, Drew's last home run was in the same game as
Tavarez's last win: June 20 at Atlanta. Kielty homered for the
first time since last Sept. 19, when he was with Oakland.

The Red Sox outscored Chicago 46-7 in the series. Boston scored
at least 10 runs in each game, only the fourth time that has
happened in a four-game series since 1900, according to the Elias
Sports Bureau. It's the first time it has happened in the American
League in 85 years.

The St. Louis Browns did it in 1920 and 1922, and the Colorado Rockies in 1996. Boston's run total in the series was the most for
the franchise since it scored the same amount against the Browns in
1949.

Boston has won four in a row, improved baseball's best record to
80-51 and increased their lead over second-place New York to 7½
games in the AL East.

Are they the best team in the majors?

"The last four days, yes," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
said. "I think Boston is the team to beat in the American
League."

The Red Sox are trying to diffuse such talk.

"We can't look ahead," catcher Jason Varitek said. "We have
to play like we've been playing."

The loss dropped the White Sox to 18 games under .500 for the
first time since 1989. The only team in the majors with a worse
record is Tampa Bay, which visits U.S. Cellular Field on Monday for
a makeup game.

"I think if you try, you can't play on this [terrible] level
that we do," Guillen said. "We caught those guys when they were
playing well and they caught us when we were playing bad."

Tavarez (7-9), who has bounced between the rotation and the
bullpen, was making just his second start since the beginning of
August, but struck out seven and handcuffed the White Sox to two
hits in six innings. He was 0-5 in his last seven starts, going
back to June 25.

"That was the best Julian has thrown the ball all year,"
Varitek said. "He pitched in very well to the lefties and it just
opened up the whole plate for him."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona raved about Tavarez's well-known
versatility.

"How many pitchers can you start, put in the bullpen and let
them sit for two weeks, and then have a legitimate chance to throw
six innings?" Francona said. "That doesn't happen very often."

Ortiz's 24th homer capped off a four-run fifth inning as the Red
Sox ended Javier Vazquez's perfect month and sent the White Sox to
their fifth straight loss and 13th in 15 games.

In the fifth, Dustin Pedroia broke a 1-all tie with a two-run
single. After a mound meeting with his manager and catcher,
Vazquez's first pitch to Ortiz landed more than 400 feet away in
center to make it 5-1. Kielty added a two-run shot off Vazquez in
the sixth.

"It's tough, bro," Vazquez said. "It's embarrassing to lose
four games, especially the way we've been losing. It's not even
funny."

Drew hit his seventh homer in the second to give Boston a 1-0
lead. It was his first homer in 51 games, ending the longest
drought of his career.

"I've faced [Vazquez] quite a few times," Drew said. "In that
situation, I was trying to slow things down a little bit and get a
good pitch to hit. I got a ball out over the zone and was able to
hit it out."

Jermaine Dye hit his 25th homer in the second, but the White Sox
didn't have another hit until Josh Fields singled in the sixth.

Vazquez (11-7) was 3-0 in four previous August starts and 8-1
over his last 12 starts. He matched his season-high with 10
strikeouts but also matched a season-high allowing three home runs.
He gave up seven runs and six hits, with three walks in six
innings.

Vazquez was mowing down Red Sox hitters until the fifth. He
struck out Varitek to start the inning, his seventh of the game,
but then gave up a bunt single to Kielty. Coco Crisp added a single
and Julio Lugo reached on a fielder's choice, setting up Pedroia's
hit.

Fields, usually a third baseman, made an error in his first
start in left field, leading to three unearned runs during a
four-run ninth.

"It was a pop fly," Fields said. "I got one ball hit to me
and it's with two outs in the ninth. It waits that long to get out
to me. The ball kind of came back toward the infield and the wind
blew a little bit. Hopefully I won't make the same mistake
tomorrow."

Game notes
Manny Ramirez didn't start for the Red Sox. Francona said
it was just a day off but relented that Ramirez had been bothered
by a sore back. ... Fields will stay in left for the rest of the
season to see if he can play the position in 2008. ... White Sox DH
Jim Thome returned after missing three games with a stiff lower
back. ... Tavarez's seven strikeouts tied a season-high.