BOSTON (AP) – With trade rumors swirling around Fenway Park after Manny Ramirez was scratched just before the game, David Wells allowed two runs in seven-plus innings as the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Saturday night.

Ramirez was removed from Boston’s lineup just five minutes before the game, though the Red Sox said they had no trade to announce. The All-Star slugger is the key player in a much-discussed, three-team trade, which also involves the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

“After meeting with Manny Ramirez, manager Terry Francona made the decision shortly before game time that, under the circumstances, it was in the best interests of the club and of Manny that he not be in the starting lineup tonight,” the Red Sox said in a statement.

Ramirez ran onto the field with his teammates to celebrate after the game ended as the crowd chanted “Manny! Manny!” He was booed during Friday night’s game.

John Olerud drove in three runs and Gabe Kapler had two hits and scored twice as Ramirez’s replacement.

In a very unusual move, Red Sox security closed the street near the players’ parking lot from the media and public during the game. A clubhouse attendant later took Ramirez’s car and filled it with gas before parking it near the entrance.

Wells (9-5) took a shutout into the eighth and gave up seven hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. He gave up just four singles and allowed one runner to third in the first seven innings. It was his seventh win in eight decisions.

Chad Bradford got four outs and Mike Myers got the final two.

Olerud singled in a run off Kyle Lohse (7-10) in the first inning. The Red Sox made it 2-0 in the second on Edgar Renteria’s run-scoring single after Kapler and Johnny Damon each singled.

Bill Mueller hit an RBI triple in the third and Olerud’s bases-loaded, two-run single off Terry Mulholland – after David Ortiz was intentionally walked – made it 5-0 in the sixth. Jason Varitek added an RBI single.

Mike Redmond had an RBI double and Juan Castro a run-scoring single in the eighth to chase Wells.

Lohse pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits.

Wells got out of a first-and-third jam in the third when Justin Morneau and Mike Redmond bounced into fielder’s choices.

When asked about the possibility of Ramirez being traded before the game, Francona said: “I have enough faith in the people that I work for that, if they make changes, it’s going to make the team better.

“I wouldn’t talk about Manny specifically in a trade,” he said when asked again.

Notes: Ramirez, who usually arrives early, joked with security about cleaning out his locker when he came to the park around 10 a.m. to work out. He left just before 11 and returned later in the afternoon. … Red Sox OF Kapler received a standing ovation from the crowd during his first at-bat. … Boston designated OF Adam Hyzdu for assignment before the game and activated Kapler from the 15-day DL. … Twins SS Castro made a diving stop on Tony Graffanino’s ball up the middle and flipped it with his glove to Bret Boone for a force at second in the fifth. … Ortiz walked four times, matching his career high.

AP-ES-07-30-05 2217EDT


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