BOSTON (AP) -- The differences between big David Ortiz and bland J.D. Drew are striking. So are the similarities.
The streaking Drew kept filling the hole left by Boston's injured slugger on Thursday night when he hit a two-run homer and a double as the Red Sox kept rolling at home with a 9-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.Mike Lowell hit his second grand slam of the season, Kevin Youkilis also hit a two-run homer and Jon Lester pitched seven solid innings. But it's been Drew's surge in the 11 games Big Papi has missed that has sparked Boston's 8-3 spurt that brought it from one game behind Tampa Bay to a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East."It really seems like sometimes he's just bored at the plate," Lowell said. "He's really filled a big gap for us. And he's kind of been David -- big home runs, big hits."Drew is 18-for-36 with six homers and 15 RBIs since the designated hitter has been sidelined with a wrist injury, raising his batting average from .282 to .324. He also has five doubles, a triple, 15 runs and 10 walks in that span.On Thursday, batting in Ortiz's No. 3 spot, he went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 11 games while Boston improved to a major league best 28-7 at home and 18-3 in its last 21 games at Fenway Park."He's almost like David up there right now," Youkilis said.That, the understated Drew said, "is a good compliment," but he hasn't changed his approach -- or his demeanor -- to pick up the slack for Ortiz."If you try to become somebody you're not it's not going to work out real well," he said. "I've dealt with that my whole career, people thinking that it may not exactly look like I'm as intense as you should be. I'm a firm believer that you have to be relaxed to play this game."Boston lost the series opener 10-6 after squandering two leads but never trailed in winning the last two.Lowell's grand slam gave the Red Sox a 5-0 lead in the fifth. They also led 5-0 after one inning of Wednesday's 6-3 win."You have to stay away from the big inning," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "They're patient. They foul them off with two strikes. They make you work for every out you get."Lester (5-3) allowed seven hits and one walk while striking out three in seven innings in his return from a five-game suspension after he hit two Tampa Bay batters June 5 during a game in which there was a benches-clearing brawl.The extra day of rest "made it worse," he said. "It feels weird."He allowed just two runners to reach second base in the first five innings, then struggled in the sixth when he gave up doubles to Brian Roberts, Oscar Salazar and Aubrey Huff that cut the lead to 5-2.The Red Sox made it 7-2 in the seventh against Dennis Sarfate when Youkilis hit his 10th homer of the season after Manny Ramirez walked. Then Drew's 10th homer in the eighth gave them a 9-2 lead.Boston had taken a 1-0 lead in the second against Jeremy Guthrie (3-7) when Youkilis singled, took second on a groundout and scored on a single by Julio Lugo.Then Lowell hit the eighth grand slam of his career and his 10th homer of the season to make it 5-0 in the fifth. It was the first time in seven starts that Guthrie had allowed more than three runs, although he has just one win in his last six."It was a combination of being a little bit off and a couple of three-ball pitches that could have been strike three," Guthrie said.The Red Sox loaded the bases on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, a double by Drew and an intentional walk to Ramirez."You've got a guy that's hit 500 home runs in his career or a guy that you can get to hit into a double play to get out of an inning," Trembley said. "It's a real simple option."But Lowell drove a 1-0 pitch into the left-field seats. His other grand slam this year, on May 22 at Fenway against Kansas City's Jimmy Gobble, also followed an intentional walk to Ramirez.Ramirez's hitting streak ended at 15 games, the longest by a Red Sox player this season, although he walked twice and scored twice.Baltimore lost cleanup hitter Kevin Millar for the game in the second inning when he fouled a pitch off his left knee. He suffered a bruise, X-rays were negative and his return was listed as day-to-day. He said he won't go on the disabled list.
Baltimore has at least one double in 20 straight games, its longest streak since June 12-July 7, 2004, when it lasted 27 games. ... Boston C Jason Varitek missed the game with strep throat. "He shouldn't have played last night," manager Terry Francona said. Varitek hit a three-run homer in Boston's 6-3 win Wednesday. Kevin Cash replaced him Thursday. ... Sean Casey will get a rare start at first base when Boston opens a three-game series at Cincinnati, his former team. Boston's 14-20 road record is the worst of the six division leaders.