BOSTON (AP) — Hours after he was linked to a positive drug test, David Ortiz hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 8-5 on Thursday.

With two runners aboard, Ortiz hit a two-out pitch from Craig Breslow (4-5) to right-center, giving Boston a 6-5 lead. The drive sailed over the Red Sox bullpen and to the right of the 420 foot sign that marks the deepest part of Fenway Park.

The New York Times reported just before the game that Ortiz was on the list of more than 100 major leaguers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

Ortiz, struggling through a slump that sent him to the bench earlier this season, declined to comment to the newspaper. But as reporters entered the Red Sox clubhouse after the game, they were handed a statement – on plain, white paper without the team logo – in which Ortiz said he was “blindsided” by the news.

“Based on the way I lived my life I’m surprised to learn I tested positive,” the statement said. “I will find out what I tested positive for. … Based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with the club and the public. You know me – I will not hide and I will not make excuses.”

Fans might not have known about the report; if they did, they did not hold back their support for the slugger who was a key part of Boston’s 2004 and ’07 World Series titles. (Exiled outfielder Manny Ramirez, who was on both those teams and was the Series MVP in ’04, was also reported to be on the drug list.)

Ortiz was cheered before each at-bat, as always. But it was only after the slumping slugger, who hit 142 homers from 2004-06, hit his 14th of this season that the fans rose to their feet and hollered until Ortiz came out of the dugout for a curtain call.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that once the game began, no one was worried about the report.

“I believe David will be OK,” Francona said. “I didn’t have time in the seventh inning to think about someone’s mental capabilities. I was just glad the ball left the ballpark.”

Manny Delcarmen (3-2) got four outs for the win, Daniel Bard pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 26th save.

Boston had lost two straight games to Oakland and eight of its last 11 overall.

Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra had three hits for the A’s.

Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, scoring four runs to make it 4-1 and chase Jon Lester. But the Red Sox scored two in the bottom half and then, after Oakland made it 5-3, took the lead in the seventh.

Kevin Youkilis reached on a double with a high fly ball that right fielder Jack Cust lost in the sun. Jason Bay walked and Ortiz made it 6-5 with his second homer since the All-Star break. J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back doubles in the eighth, then Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5.

NOTES: Lester allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out two in 5 2-3 innings. Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez gave up three runs on five hits and four walks, striking out eight before leaving with one on and one out and the A’s leading 4-2. … Ellsbury was held without a hit after six straight multihit games. He was also caught stealing for the eighth time in 54 tries.

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