Sox rally in ninth to top Devil Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Jason Varitek hit a tiebreaking single in a four-run ninth inning and Manny Ramirez homered, leading the Boston Red Sox past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-6 on Saturday night.

Trailing 6-5, the Red Sox loaded the bases with none out in the ninth against Tyler Walker (0-1) on a single and two walks. He struck out Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch before Trot Nixon walked to tie it.

Varitek put Boston up 7-6 with an RBI single to right. The Red Sox made it 9-6 on Mike Lowell’s sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single by Wily Mo Pena off Dan Miceli.

Jonathan Papelbon struck out all three batters in the bottom half for his 10th save in 10 chances. He became the first big league pitcher to get 10 saves in April after entering that season without a save.

Papelbon has a scoreless streak of 20 1-3 innings spanning 17 appearances dating to last year.

Jonny Gomes homered during his first four-hit game for the Devil Rays.

Gomes doubled off Keith Foulke (2-1) leading off the eighth. He went to third on Ty Wigginton’s fly to center and scored on Toby Hall’s sacrifice fly to left for a 6-5 lead. It appeared that Ramirez’s throw hit Gomes on the leg.

Boston stopped a three-game skid.

The Red Sox and Devil Rays have traded beanballs and been involved in several brawls in recent years, and Saturday was no exception.

Tampa Bay’s Doug Waechter hit Alex Cora near the hip on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the third and slugger David Ortiz on deck. Ortiz ended the inning on a broken-bat grounder.

Carl Crawford was the first Devil Rays batter in the third and was hit in the leg by a 1-1 pitch from Boston starter Lenny DiNardo, which prompted a warning by plate umpire Mike Winters.

Gomes made DiNardo pay two pitches later when he hit a two-run homer to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-0. Gomes set a team record for a month with his 11th homer in April.

Ramirez hit solo shot and Kevin Youkilis drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double during a four-run sixth that tied it at 4.

Ramirez leads all visiting players with 21 homers and 57 RBIs – in 57 games – at Tropicana Field. He broke a tie with Andre Dawson for 33rd place on baseball’s career list with his 439th homer.

Hall put Tampa Bay ahead 5-4 with a sixth-inning homer. Nixon tied it in the seventh on a sacrifice fly that drove in Ramirez, who tripled. Ramirez went into a home run trot before sprinting from near first to third on a deep fly into the right-field corner that hit the wall and then caromed into right-center.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with none out in the first, but scored just once when Wigginton hit into a double play. Greg Norton’s solo shot – his first homer since May 9, 2004 – made it 2-0 one inning later.

Waechter allowed three runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings. DiNardo gave up four runs and six hits over five innings.

Notes: Ortiz was in the lineup one day after getting hit on the right elbow by a pitch. He had the elbow examined by a team doctor. … Tampa Bay 3B Aubrey Huff (knee) and SS Julio Lugo (abdominal) worked out and could return Friday.

AP-ES-04-29-06 2219EDT

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