<
>

Ramirez bruises knee, is day-to-day

BOSTON (AP) -- Manny Ramirez banged a ball off his knee. Keith
Foulke had a stiff back. Neither was available at the end of the
game, and yet the Boston Red Sox keep winning.

Ricky Gutierrez singled three times and drove in two runs Friday
night to help the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 for their
10th victory in 11 games. Mark Bellhorn had a pair of hits and
Derek Lowe pitched eight strong innings as Boston remained 5½ games
behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

"We're on a good roll, and as a starting pitcher you don't want
to be the one guy that stops the momentum," Lowe said. "As a
rotation, it's been a lot of fun the last couple of weeks."

Less fun was seeing Ramirez foul a pitch off his left knee in
the fourth. He finished his at-bat -- lining out to left -- before
Dave Roberts replaced him in left field to start the fifth. X-rays
were negative and Ramirez was day-to-day with a bruise.

Ramirez, who leads the AL with 34 homers, singled and scored a
run and is batting .316 with 102 RBI. He was not available for
comment after the game.

"We definitely need his bat -- the understatement of the year,"
Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He thought he was doing OK."

Foulke, who pitched in four of the previous six games, reported
stiffness earlier in the day and the decision was made in the
fourth inning to give him the night off.

"It's more precautionary than anything," Francona said. "We
don't want to turn one night into seven."

Lowe (12-10) allowed three runs and seven hits, striking out
seven to win for the sixth time in his last eight decisions. With
Foulke unavailable, Mike Timlin started the ninth and gave up a
pair of hits before striking out Craig Monroe, who had already hit
a two-run homer in the game.

Alan Embree struck out pinch-hitter Marcus Thames and Curtis
Leskanic got Brandon Inge to pop out to right to end the game. It
was Leskanic's third save of the season and first since signing
with the Red Sox on June 22; it was the first save for a Boston
pitcher other than Foulke since April 25.

"Just a couple of pitches. I really didn't do much work ... too
easy," Leskanic said. "I was on the disabled list for the better
part of three weeks. Just watching these guys play well, you want
to contribute."

Mike Maroth (10-9) allowed five runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits
in five innings. He has lost consecutive decisions after winning
the previous seven.

"The first half of the game, we certainly didn't play very
smart," manager Alan Trammell said of the three Tigers errors.
"Mike must have thrown at least 20 extra pitches because of that
and that certainly hurt. It wasn't his fault. He pitched pretty
good ball."

Maroth gave up consecutive doubles to start the first and fell
behind 2-1 after one. Boston made it 3-1 in the third thanks to a
two Detroit errors.

Ramirez reached safely when shortstop Carlos Guillen couldn't
handle his grounder. Jason Varitek doubled one out later and, on
Kevin Millar's grounder to shortstop, Inge muffed the throw home;
Ramirez tried to go through the catcher before slipping around him
to get to the plate.

Boston loaded the bases in the fifth on Varitek's walk and
consecutive singles by Orlando Cabrera and Gabe Kapler. Gutierrez
followed with a single to left to drive in two runs and make it
5-1.

Game notes
Varitek, who returned from a four-game suspension for
pushing Alex Rodriguez in the face, received a big ovation before
his first at-bat. ... Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez, after committing two
throwing errors Thursday night, was held out of the lineup Friday
with a cold. ... Tigers OF Rondell White was also held out with a
strained right hip flexor, sustained during Thursday's loss to the
Red Sox. He was day-to-day. ... Red Sox 3B Bill Mueller was held
out of the lineup after twisting his right ankle Thursday. ... The
MRI on Boston 1B Doug Mientkiewicz's left shoulder showed no
structural damage and he remained day-to-day. ... Lowe is 6-1
lifetime against Detroit, his hometown team.