Red Sox Continue to Dominate Interleague Play, Sweep Dodgers

Red Sox Continue to Dominate Interleague Play, Sweep Dodgers BOSTON — Manny Ramirez buttoned up a Dodger blue dress shirt, knotted a solid red tie around his neck and left the visitor's clubhouse to pose for pictures and sign autographs for fans waiting outside.

Then he left Boston without a word for reporters — or a win.

Facing the Red Sox for the first time since he helped them win two World Series, Ramirez had two of Los Angeles' four hits on Sunday night — not nearly enough as Clay Buchholz and two relievers shut out the Dodgers 2-0 to complete a three-game sweep.

"It's nice to win a tight game like this," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who had a triple and two singles and also advanced after a stolen base when he noticed no one was covering third. "We only needed a couple of runs. The pitching was dominant, so it was great that we could get that one early."

The Red Sox have won six in a row, finishing their interleague homestand with an 8-1 record and improving to 16-4 in their past 20 games against NL teams.

Buchholz (10-4) allowed three hits, three walks and two hit batsmen while striking out four to win for the seventh time in his past eight starts.

"Just a maturing young pitcher," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "His stuff is so good, now that he's got some repetition under his belt the game doesn't speed up for him."

Daniel Bard
got four outs and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 16th save and Boston's sixth shutout.

"We haven't had a lot of opportunities here," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Buchholz in the first two innings went through a lot of pitches, then he got back. That was key. We're struggling to score runs."

For the Red Sox, Pedroia was the key to the only run they needed.

The Boston second baseman stole two bases in the game, swiping second in the first inning and then continuing to third after catcher Russell Martin's throw trickled into center field for an error. The play was backed up, but the Dodgers had shifted the infield with lefty David Ortiz at the plate, and it was pitcher Hiroki Kuroda's responsibility to cover third.

"If you're just a hair late, it's not going to work. But his instincts are so good," said Francona, who at first thought the ball wasn't far enough away for Pedroia to advance. "I thought he had too many Red Bulls. But that was great baserunning, and we needed it."

Ortiz walked, then Kevin Youkilis hit a check-swing dribbler that third baseman Casey Blake ran past, hoping it would go foul. The ball rolled down the line and hit the base as Pedroia scored without a throw to make it 1-0.

"It turns out they scored a run, so it was a crucial play of the game," Kuroda (6-5) said through a translator.

Boston made it 2-0 when Marco Scutaro led off the third with a single, Pedroia singled and Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly.

Kuroda gave up two runs and six hits, a walk and two wild pitches. He struck out nine.

There were more cheers – and more boos – for Ramirez, who was playing in Boston for the first time since leaving the city he helped win two World Series titles. The 2004 Series MVP was 2 for 3 with a walk in the finale; he also jogged out of the basepaths without any effort to disrupt an inning-ending double play on James Loney's grounder in the third inning.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the first before Buchholz struck out Garret Anderson and got Blake on a comebacker. Anderson doubled to lead off the seventh, and two outs later Buchholz hit Blake DeWitt with a pitch in the back of his right leg.

DeWitt left for a pinch runner, and that was it for Buchholz, too. Bard came on to get Jamey Carroll on a first-pitch fielder's choice.

Torre, who helped DeWitt limp off the field, said the second baseman had an X-ray and it was negative.

"It's weird," Torre said. "It must have hit him on that nerve in the back of his leg. He couldn't pick up his foot."

Buchholz has allowed three runs or fewer in eight straight starts. … The Red Sox mowed a picture of a soccer ball into the outfield grass to note the July 21 game between Celtic FC of Scotland and Sporting CP of Portugal. … Francona said he hoped to have J.D. Drew back from a right hamstring injury on Tuesday. … Torre said he hadn't decided on a pitcher for Thursday. It could be Claudio Vargas or Charlie Haeger, both in Triple-A.

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