BOSTON (AP) – David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez roughed up Roy Halladay early, Tim Wakefield won his third straight start and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox opened the second half with a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Ortiz and Ramirez are both well off last year’s production pace, but the two All-Stars showed signs of snapping out of their first-half slump. Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Ramirez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Red Sox end a three-game losing streak.
Wakefield (10-8) scattered nine hits and walked none in six innings, allowing four runs, including back-to-back homers by Matt Stairs and Alex Rios in the sixth when Toronto cut a 5-2 deficit to one run. But in the bottom half Ortiz hit an RBI double and scored on Ramirez’s single to give Boston a 7-4 lead.
Wakefield struck two and won for the fifth time in six starts. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
Halladay (10-4) allowed the first four Red Sox batters of the game to reach base and score, giving up five runs in all and eight hits.
Rios went 3-for-4 with a single, double and homer, and Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill had two hits apiece for the Blue Jays. Lyle Overbay went 1-for-4 in his first game back since breaking his right pinky on June 3.
Halladay gave up J.D. Drew’s single to lead off the Boston first, then walked Dustin Pedroia. Ortiz followed with an RBI single and Ramirez doubled in another run before Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell drove them in to make it 4-0.
Ortiz had 54 homers and 137 RBIs in 2006, when Ramirez (35, 102) had a bit of an off year. Ortiz had 14 homers and 52 RBIs heading into the break, and Ramirez had 11 and 45.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed before the game that Ortiz’s knees have been bothering him. Ortiz may have made things worse when he fouled a ball off the inside of his right knee in the eighth, but after a short visit from the trainer he remained in the game.
Julio Lugo had a pair of hits to raise his batting average above .200 for the first time since June 20. He also reached in the seventh when shortstop John McDonald’s throw to first was high, forcing Overbay to swipe tag as he came down with the ball.
Replays showed Overbay tagged Lugo before he touched the base, but umpire John Hirschbeck ruled the runner safe. Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing the call.
Notes: Boston right-hander Curt Schilling (right shoulder tendinitis) will throw on the side on Friday. … Toronto activated Overbay from the 15-day disabled list before the game. … Boston right-handers Joel Pineiro (sprained right ankle) and Brendan Donnelly (strained right forearm) are scheduled to make rehab assignments in Single-A Lowell on Friday. … Wakefield has recorded a decision in each of his 18 starts this season. … Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs left the game after being hit on his right foot by Pedroia’s line drive in the eighth.