Red Sox fight Rays, each other during action-packed triumph
By: By The Associated Press
Things are getting more heated in the American League East. The first-place Boston Red Sox are fighting the Tampa Bay Rays — and each other. Manny Ramirez homered, drove in five runs and got into a shouting match with a teammate as Boston beat Tampa Bay 7-1 Thursday night in a game that included a bench-clearing brawl between the clubs. Jason Giambi and the Yankees also showed some fight as he hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth as New York rallied from a five-run deficit for a 9-8 victory over Toronto. In Boston, TV cameras showed Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis being separated after exchanging words in the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. Ramirez pointed at Youkilis before being escorted down the runway toward the clubhouse by trainer Paul Lessard and a few players. Red Sox manager Terry Francona felt emotions were still running hot after the earlier brawl. “I think they were just exchanging some views on things,” he said, trying to downplay his players’ near altercation. “It was kind of a hectic night. Sometimes those things happen. It wasn’t really a big deal; it won’t be a big deal.” In other AL games, it was: Baltimore 3, Minnesota 2; Texas 9, Cleveland 4; and Chicago 6, Kansas City 2. The Red Sox posted their 13th straight home win, matching the majors’ longest streak in nearly two years, and completed their second three-game sweep of the Rays in a little more than a month. The fight on the field started after Boston’s Coco Crisp was hit on the right hip by a second-inning pitch from James Shields. Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound and ducked a wild right by Shields before throwing a few punches. Crisp was tackled to the ground by Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp, and threw several punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground. “I charged the mound. (Shields) tried to hit me with a punch,” Crisp said. “I’m not upset at all. We fought. That’s all it is. There were some cheap shots there. (Carl) Crawford came sliding in. I don’t know why he was pulling hair, scratching. After that it was three, four guys on one.” Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected. As for the dugout incident, Dustin Pedroia and Crisp both said they didn’t know what happened. “I really didn’t see it,” Pedroia said. “I was running out onto the field. We’re around each other a lot, but we love each other. We’re a team.” Yankees 9, Blue Jays 8 At New York, pinch-hitter Jason Giambi connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, rallying New York. Giambi’s drive off closer B.J. Ryan into the right-field upper deck — just inside the foul pole — capped New York’s biggest comeback win this season. In erasing a 7-2 deficit, the Yankees overcame another poor outing by Chien-Ming Wang and a key error by center fielder Melky Cabrera. Rangers 9, Indians 4 At Arlington, Texas, Michael Young homered and extended his hitting streak to 21 games, and Kevin Millwood shook off a bad first inning to pitch into the seventh for Texas. The Indians roughed up Texas pitching for 35 runs and 48 hits in the first three games of the series, then scored four more in the first. White Sox 6, Royals 2 At Chicago, Jose Contreras won his fourth straight decision and Jim Thome homered as the resurgent White Sox beat the Royals to complete a three-game sweep. The sloppy Royals (23-37) lost their 11th straight road game, one shy of the franchise record, and have dropped 15 of 17 overall. Contreras (6-3) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He hasn’t lost since May 4. Gil Meche (3-8) dropped his third consecutive decision. He gave up four earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. Orioles 3, Twins 2 At Minneapolis, Adam Jones hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning and Baltimore beat Minnesota. Jones opened the inning with a drive into the left-field seats against reliever Brian Bass (2-2). Nick Markakis gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the third with his 10th homer, a two-run shot. Garrett Olson (5-1) tossed 61/3 innings, giving up two runs and eight hits. George Sherrill pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 attempts, working around Nick Punto’s one-out double.