ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Matt Clement worked into the ninth inning for his 10th victory and David Ortiz homered and drove in three runs for the Boston Red Sox in a 7-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Clement (10-2), left off the AL All-Star roster by his own manager, retired 10 straight after giving up consecutive homers to David Dellucci and Michael Young in the third inning. The only other runs he allowed were on Dellucci’s second homer in the seventh. He allowed nine hits, struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.

After throwing a season-high 122 pitches (84 strikes), Clement didn’t get a chance for his second complete game after allowing Sandy Alomar’s two-out single in the ninth.

With struggling closer Keith Foulke on the 15-day disabled list and scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday, Alan Embree got the final out for his first save in three chances.

The Red Sox (48-35) go into their four-game series at Baltimore with a four-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East, their largest division lead since June 2002. The New York Yankees are 41/2 games back.

Ortiz hit a 431-foot homer high onto the grassy hill in center field for Boston’s first run, starting a three-run sixth that put the Red Sox ahead to stay. It was his 21st of the season, and second in two nights.

An inning later, Ortiz had a two-run single when the Red Sox scored four runs.

Two outs after Ortiz’s homer, Trot Nixon and Kevin Millar had consecutive doubles before Jason Varitek’s tiebreaking RBI single chased Chan Ho Park (8-3).

Varitek and Millar drove in runs in the seventh off reliever Kameron Loe. Varitek had another single and Millar got an RBI on a strange fielder’s choice when left fielder Kevin Mench couldn’t handle his sinking liner but forced Manny Ramirez at third when the All-Star failed to run.

Johnny Damon extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games with a seventh-inning single. It’s the longest in the majors this season, surpassing Darin Erstad of the Los Angeles Angels, who hit in 21 straight from May 28-June 21.

After Dellucci’s first homer, Young followed with his 13th of the season and Clement didn’t allow another hit until Hank Blalock’s one-out single in the sixth. Dellucci’s two-run homer in the seventh was his 17th.

Park allowed one hit through the first five innings, but got just two more outs after that. He allowed three runs and five hits with five strikeouts and four walks.

Clement has one more victory in 18 starts for Boston than he did in 30 for the Chicago Cubs last season. He signed a $25 million, three-year free agent contract with the Red Sox.

Clement could still end up on the All-Star team. Boston’s Terry Francona, who will manage the AL team, said Clement would go if Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers decides against going to Detroit next week.

Rogers apologized Wednesday for last week’s tirade against two TV cameramen that sent one to the hospital and prompted a police investigation, but said he has not decided if he will go to next week’s All-Star game.

Rogers (9-4, 2.45 ERA), who is appealing his 20-game suspension for the outburst, apologized to fans and the cameramen in his first public comments since the June 29 episode. He read from a two-page, handwritten statement and declined to take questions.

Notes: Park hadn’t allowed a home run in his six previous starts, since May 29 against the White Sox. … Texas leads the major leagues with 138 homers, their most ever before the All-Star break. … Boston has won nine of its last 10 road games.

AP-ES-07-06-05 2312EDT


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