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Burkett ends winless streak; Ramirez homers again

9/11/2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- John Burkett benefited from
Boston's offensive outburst.

Burkett snapped a seven-game winless streak and Manny Ramirez
homered for the second straight day as the Red Sox beat the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays 12-1 Tuesday night.

Doug Mirabelli and Nomar Garciaparra each hit a two-run homer
for Boston, which began the day 7½ games behind Anaheim in the AL
wild-card race.

The Red Sox had 15 hits, including eight for extra bases.

''The boys pounded the ball,'' Burkett said.

Burkett (11-7) gave up one run and six hits in seven innings for
his first win since July 27. He had been 0-4 with an 8.47 ERA in
his last seven starts.

''It's been a long time,'' Burkett said. ''It was a frustrating
month. August was tough on me. I felt like, maybe, if I would have
pitched a lot better, we'd be in a different situation right now.''

Ramirez also hit an RBI double. He has seven homers and 20 RBI
against Tampa Bay this season.

''We swung the bats good,'' Boston manager Grady Little said.
''Getting a few balls to fly over the fence, that's always good to
see.''

Aubrey Huff extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games
with a fifth-inning homer for the Devil Rays.

Joe Kennedy (7-11) lost his third straight start, giving up
seven runs and seven hits in six innings. The Devil Rays (48-96)
have the fewest wins by an AL team after 144 games since the 1979
Toronto Blue Jays were 46-98.

Ramirez was fined an undisclosed amount by Little for not
running out a grounder in Monday's 6-3 win over Tampa Bay. The
slugger hit a check-swing grounder back to pitcher Tanyon Sturtze
in the third, and immediately headed toward the dugout.

Ramirez later hit a tiebreaking homer Monday in the seventh
inning.

In the first inning Tuesday, Ramirez hit liner foul down the
left-field line. After initially watching the ball, he started
running toward first.

Ramirez hit his 28th homer in the third, an opposite-field solo
shot that put Boston up 2-0.

''He's playing hard,'' Little said.

Ramirez left the clubhouse minutes after the game ended and was
not available for comment.

The Red Sox went ahead 7-1 with a five-run sixth. Ramirez and
Cliff Floyd hit consecutive RBI doubles. After Benny Agbayani drove
in a run with a single, Mirabelli hit a two-run homer.

Garciaparra hit a two-run homer during a four-run seventh that
made it 11-1. Pinch-hitter Freddy Sanchez delivered a two-run
single in his major league debut.

For the second straight game, a pitcher was ejected after
hitting a batter with a pitch.

Tampa Bay's Lee Gardner was tossed after hitting pinch-hitter
Lou Merloni in the eighth.

''I'm not that kind of pitcher,'' Gardner said. ''I'm trying to
stay on this ballclub, and that right there isn't going to help me
out.''

Umpire Jerry Crawford said players would continue to be ejected
rather than warned if there were any more beanball problems in the
series.

''They don't have to convince us that there's not a problem,''
Crawford said. ''They have to convince somebody at major league
baseball. Five guys have been hit in two days. That's not going to
convince anyone that there's not bad blood.''

Boston's Derek Lowe was thrown out of Monday's game after
hitting Felix Escalona with a pitch for the second time with the
Red Sox up 4-3 in the seventh.

Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez, who has hit 15 batters this season,
is scheduled to make his first start since Aug. 28 on Wednesday.

''We don't change the rules because of who's pitching,''
Crawford said. ''If the man working the plate deems one of those
guys is throwing at somebody, the same thing is going to happen.''

Little said the Red Sox might contact the commissioner's office
about the situation.

''Those umpires are doing the job that they're being directed to
do,'' Little said. ''We need to talk to someone about that. I'm not
satisfied in my mind that any of that was intentional.''

Game notes
Kennedy hit two batters on breaking balls, but no action
was taken. He has hit an AL-leading 16 batters. ... Ramirez has 65
RBI career against the Devil Rays, the most by any Tampa Bay
opponent. ... Garciaparra has two homers in his last 28 games.