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Weaver's Day Spoiled by Big Papi

Weaver's Day Spoiled by Big Papi

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BOSTON (AP) -- David Ortiz tried something different, but had a familiar ending.

Ortiz capped a 4-for-5 day with a single the other way through a shifted infield with two outs in the 11th inning, giving the Boston Red Sox a 7-6 comeback win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

Ortiz drove in four runs, helping the Red Sox rally to spoil Angels rookie Jered Weaver's attempt to become the first pitcher in 25 years to win his first eight major league starts.

Ortiz hit his major league-leading 35th homer and had a pair of RBI singles to raise his major league-leading RBI total to 99. The Red Sox, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees atop the AL East, have been in sole possession of first place since June 18.

The winner this time was no towering drive into the seats or hard line drive to right. It was just a little roller that found its way into an opening.

Alex Gonzalez singled with one out in the 11th off Hector Carrasco (2-3) and Kevin Youkilis singled. After Carrasco struck out Mark Loretta, Ortiz greeted left-hander J.C. Romero with a slow rolling single through the regular shortstop position before being mobbed by his teammates at first base as Gonzalez raced home from second easily.

"The guy was throwing a hard sinker. If I try to pull it, it's a ground ball to first," said Ortiz, wearing dark sunglasses. "I go the other way. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. In a situation like that you want to try it."

Manny Ramirez threw out Mike Napoli at home in the top of the 11th, with catcher Jason Varitek taking the one-hop throw while blocking the plate, but it was Ortiz's heroics that were the topic of Boston's clubhouse for his fourth game-ending hit of the season and his 11th with the Red Sox.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia agreed that Romero is likely to get a lot of grounders.

"You put (J.C.) in and try to play the percentages," Scioscia said of the shift. "(Ortiz) decided to stay inside one and punch it through that hole."

Red Sox reliever Jonathan Papelbon is still amazed by Ortiz's clutch hitting.

"To have that guy on your team, to be able to take the pressure off your teammates and to be able to carry the team on his back is amazing," Papelbon said. "He's the type of guy that enjoys that role. We're going to ride him a lot."

Julian Tavarez (2-3) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

Boston trailed 6-3 in the eighth, but rallied with three runs against reliever Scot Shields.

Curtis Pride hit his first homer in more than three years, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh, to give the Angels a 5-3 lead.

But the Angels' bullpen couldn't hold it for Weaver, who allowed more than two runs in a game for the first time. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up three runs, seven hits, struck out four and walked two over 6 2-3 innings, but his ERA rose from a paltry 1.15 to 1.51.

Fernando Valenzuela, who pitched for the Dodgers, won his first eight big league starts in 1981.

Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 14 games, his longest since 2003, with an eighth-inning single.

Ortiz hit a towering drive into the center-field bleachers to open the eighth against Shields, and Ramirez and Trot Nixon followed with consecutive singles. Both runners then moved up on a wild pitch by Shields before Mike Lowell tied it at 6 with a bloop ground-rule double to right off Francisco Rodriguez.

Rodriguez got out of a first-and-second jam in the ninth when Ramirez bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Pride, recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on July 25, homered with two outs into the Red Sox bullpen off Craig Hansen after Chone Figgins singled leading off.

Jose Molina's RBI single off Mike Timlin made it 6-3 in the eighth.

The Angels scored twice in the first before Boston cut it to 2-1 in the bottom half on Ortiz's RBI single.

Los Angeles made it 3-1 in the fifth without getting a hit. Figgins drew a one-out walk, stole second and stole third as the front end of a double steal after Izturis walked. Figgins then scored on Cabrera's bouncer to short, slapping his hand onto the plate just under Varitek's tag.

The Red Sox tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Ortiz had an RBI single and Ramirez a sacrifice fly.

Boston starter Josh Beckett failed to become the majors' first 14-game winner, giving up three runs and four hits while walking four and striking out six in six innings.

Notes:@ Ortiz has 12 homers this month, most in the majors. ... Figgins stole his AL-leading 39th and 40th bases, and Los Angeles was successful on four attempts overall. ... CF Figgins made 11 catches, one short of the major league record last done by Ken Griffey Jr., who made 12 while with Seattle on June 12, 1996. ... Pride, who pinch hit for Vladimir Guerrero in the fifth, hit his last homer against the Red Sox while with the Yankees on July 6, 2003. ... Guerrero had struck out twice before leaving the game due to fatigue. ... Beckett has allowed 17 first-inning runs in his 22 starts. ... Anderson has a 20-game hitting streak against the Red Sox.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-07-29-06 1748MDT

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