Manny Ramirez homered, drove in five runs and got into a shouting match with a teammate last night as host Boston beat Tampa Bay, 7-1, in a game that included a bench-clearing brawl between the teams.
TV cameras showed Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis being separated after exchanging words in the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. Ramirez pointed at Youkilis before being escorted down the runway toward the clubhouse by trainer Paul Lessard and a few players.
The Red Sox posted their 13th straight home win, matching the majors' longest streak in nearly 2 years, and completed their second three-game sweep of the Rays in just more than a month.
The brawl started after Boston's Coco Crisp was hit on the right hip by a second-inning pitch from James Shields. Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound and ducked a wild right by Shields before throwing a few punches himself.
Crisp was tackled to the ground by Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp, and threw several punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground.
Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected.
The tempers between the teams carried over from Wednesday's game when Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon felt Crisp "intentionally" tried to hurt Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura with a hard slide when he was caught stealing.
Crisp said he was upset with shortstop Jason Bartlett, not Iwamura, after Bartlett put his knee down in front of the bag on Crisp's successful steal in the sixth Wednesday, saying he sprained his left thumb on a headfirst slide.
Jon Lester (4-3), making his first Fenway start since his no-hitter against Kansas City May 19, gave up one run and eight hits, struck out five, hit two batters and didn't walk anyone in 6 1/3 innings. Mike Timlin worked 1 2/3 hitless innings and David Aardsma got the final three outs.
Ramirez' three-run homer - his 503rd career home run - gave Boston a 3-0 lead in the first. Dustin Pedroia was hit on the left elbow by Shields (4-4) and J.D. Drew doubled before Ramirez' drive cleared the seats above the Green Monster.
Ramirez' right knee appeared to buckle when he took a pitch in the seventh. He continued to flex his leg after drawing a walk before leaving for pinch-runner Kevin Cash one batter later.
Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a strained right wrist after making a diving catch of Evan Longoria's fourth-inning liner.
In other games:
* At Chicago, Jose Contreras won his fourth straight decision and Jim Thome homered as the resurgent White Sox beat Kansas City, 6-2, to complete a three-game sweep.
* At Arlington, Texas, Michael Young homered and extended his hitting streak to 21 games, Kevin Millwood (4-3) shook off a bad first inning to pitch into the seventh, and the Rangers beat Cleveland, 9-4.
* At Minneapolis, Adam Jones hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning and Baltimore beat Minnesota, 3-2. Twins starter Scott Baker came off the disabled list and threw 99 pitches in five innings to no-decision. *