Ramirez lifts Red Sox past TwinsJul 8, 2008 - 3:58 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) -- Manny Ramirez picked the best time to snap out of a slump.
Ramirez had two hits and drove in the only run with an eighth-inning single through a drawn-in infield to score Dustin Pedroia and give the Red Sox a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
It was Boston's major league-best 10th shutout win of the season.
Pedroia started the winning rally with a double to left off Brian Bass (3-3) that extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games.
Ramirez, who was named to his 12th American League All-Star team on Sunday, had entered the game mired in a 2-for-19 tailspin over his previous seven games.
"I didn't care who it was, just push a run across and make it stand," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "But it was great. We needed something, anything, so we can leave here on a night with a little frustration, offensively, but we got a win. It's a lot more fun to talk about how we can do things better after a win."
The Twins elected to pitch to Ramirez, with first and second base open and one out in the eighth.
"How's Manny been doing lately? We'll take our chances," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire explained. "He's a great hitter but you don't want to walk him and get to the next guy. Keep putting more people on base at this ballpark, I don't think that's too wise either. Manny, (Mike) Lowell, (Kevin) Youkilis, pick your poison."
Alexi Casilla extended his hitting streak to 14 games for the Twins, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
For the first seven innings, the game was a scoreless stalemate thanks to Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Minnesota starter Scott Baker.
Each team had their chances with the bases loaded over the first six innings but neither could capitalize.
With two outs in the first, the Twins threatened when Joe Mauer walked, Justin Morneau grounded an infield single to third and Jason Kubel walked. But Matsuzaka escaped trouble when Delmon Young hit the first pitch he saw back to the mound for an the inning-ending out.
Matsuzaka then settled in, retiring the side in order in the second and third and allowing just two hits over the next five innings.
The Red Sox had an even better chance against Baker in the fourth. J.D. Drew and Ramirez opened with singles that put runners on the corners with none out. Lowell struck out on a nasty slider before Youkilis walked to load the bases, but Coco Crisp fouled out to third and Jason Varitek flew out to center to end the threat.
Crisp came close to giving the Red Sox the lead in the seventh but Denard Span went to the warning track in right field and robbed him of a home run.
"There's no breaks in that lineup," Baker said. "There's no gimmes. Obviously, with them playing at home, they play very well here. I gave it everything I had. We made some great defensive plays, allowing me to continue to pitch and pitch into the seventh inning."
Matsuzaka allowed just six hits and struck out five while walking three and hitting a batter over 7 1/3 innings.
"He did have his command and it makes my job a lot easier," Varitek said of Matsuzaka. "For some reason, the ball came out great. He was through the strike zone pretty consistently. I think our bats were a little slow, getting in late and we needed a solid pitching performance and we got that."
"His fastball was just electric and coming out of his hand real good. He was hiding the ball good," Span said of Matsuzaka.
Baker held the Red Sox scoreless over seven innings, allowing just five hits.
Boston reliever Hideki Okajima (2-2) pitched his way out of bases-loaded jam in the top of the eighth to earn the win.
Bass was not as fortunate in the bottom half when Pedroia drilled his first pitch for a double just inside the left field foul pole to open the inning. After J.D. Drew grounded out to move Pedroia to third, the Twins elected to pitch to previously struggling Ramirez.
Ramirez fell behind two strikes before evening the count at 2-2. The All-Star slugger then hit a fastball through the hole on the right side of a drawn-in infield to score the go-ahead run.
"I made a couple of good pitches to him in, but he just managed to foul it off, foul it off and then made a mistake over the plate and he slapped one to right," Bass said.
Lowell said he wasn't surprised the Twins elected to pitch to Ramirez, Boston's RBI leader with 54.
"Manny hasn't really been tearing the cover off the ball but that just goes to show you that even when he's not going well, he's someone that's very dangerous in those situations," Lowell said.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 30 chances.
"Any loss is tough but to get (beat) 1-0 like, lose it late in the eighth inning and have Papelbon come out and shut us down in the ninth is a tough one," Bass said.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
BOSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 1 7 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: MIN - SCOTT BAKER, BRIAN BASS (8TH), JESSE CRAIN (8TH) AND JOE MAUER
BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, HIDEKI OKAJIMA (8TH), JONATHAN
PAPELBON (9TH) AND JASON VARITEK
Jul 7 9:52 PM
AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY MANNY RAMIREZ SCORED DUSTIN PEDROIA.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 8TH
DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.299, 1-FOR-2, BB)
Twins 0, Red Sox 1 Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 7 9:34 PM
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