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Sunday's action on the diamonds

A day after hitting his 500th home run it was straight back to work for Manny Ramirez.


A day after hitting his 500th home run it was straight back to work for Manny Ramirez.

The Boston Red Sox slugger hit his 501st homer, had three hits and drove in three runs, in a 9-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

On Saturday night, after he became the 24th major leaguer to hit No. 500, Ramirez said, "The next goal is 501."

He took care of that item of business in his third at-bat, driving a 1-0 pitch from Brian Burres into the right-field seats to put Boston up 6-3 in the fourth inning.

"The same when I hit No. 1," Ramirez said afterward, referring to his second major league game against the New York Yankees on Sept. 3, 1993, when he followed his first career home run with another.

Playing designated hitter for injured David Ortiz (sprained wrist), Ramirez came up with the perfect encore to his epic outing Saturday. He has homered in consecutive games after hitting only three in 34 games during his quest for 500.

"It didn't take long at all," said Boston bench coach Brad Mills, who took over the managerial job while Terry Francona attended the graduation of his daughter. "He had some real good at bats up there. He's a professional hitter, one of the best there is. He showed it again today."

Elsewhere in the AL it was: Tampa Bay 4, Chicago 3; Minnesota 5, New York 1; Kansas City 6, Cleveland 1; Los Angeles 4, Toronto 3; Oakland 13, Texas 8; and Detroit 7, Seattle 5.

At Baltimore, Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew also connected for the Red Sox, who on Monday will seek their first four-game sweep in Baltimore since 2002.

Lowell went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Drew, who missed two straight starts because of vertigo, had two hits and three RBIs. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and a stolen base, his seventh steal in the series.

The Red Sox came to town with five losses in six games, thanks mainly to an offence that produced only one run in 19 innings. But Boston has scored 20 runs in the series and had a season-high tying 16 hits Sunday, including 12 through the first four innings.

"We're going to click," Ramirez said. "Sometimes we get cold. That's part of the game."

Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon (3-0) allowed four runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. He has won three straight starts since his contract was purchased from triple-A Pawtucket, where he made three rehab starts.

"He kept us in there," Mills said. "He might have got a little tired at the end."

Luke Scott homered for the Orioles, who have lost four straight and nine of 11.

Burres (4-5) gave up seven runs and 12 hits in four innings. Over his last two starts, the left-hander has surrendered 15 runs and 22 hits.

"I'm really going to look at what I need to do to try to keep the ball back down in the zone," Burres said. "Just strike one, get ahead of hitters a little bit better than I have been."

He had no complaints over the pitch to Ramirez, saying, "It was just the wrong pitch to throw. It was pretty much where I wanted it, but he hit it a long way."

Steve Trachsel went the rest of the way for the Orioles, allowing two runs and four hits in the second relief appearance of his career - the first since Sept. 16, 1995. He has 417 starts, including eight this season, but appears to have lost his spot in the rotation.

"The first inning was a little nerve-racking. I don't know if it was doing it the first time or jogging in from centre field, the heart rate was definitely more than normal," Trachsel said. "But after that it was just pretty much business as usual."

Lowell doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Drew to put Boston up 1-0 in the second. Adam Jones hit an RBI single in the bottom half.

The Red Sox sent eight players to the plate in the third and took a 4-1 lead. Ramirez doubled in a run, Lowell hit a sacrifice fly and Drew added an RBI single.

After Ramirez and Lowell homered in the fourth, Scott hit a two-run drive in the bottom half to make it 7-3.

Any chance Baltimore had at a comeback was thwarted by Boston's solid defensive play. In the sixth inning, second baseman Dustin Pedroia dived to his right to snare a grounder before getting to one knee and throwing out Jay Payton. In the seventh, Drew made a diving catch of Scott's liner to right with two on and two out.

"If it were not some great defensive plays they made in the field, we might have gotten back in it," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.



Rays 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings)

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Gabe Gross hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning, giving AL East-leading Tampa Bay a comeback victory over Chicago.

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Twins 5, Yankees 1

At Minneapolis, Michael Cuddyer drove in three runs and Minnesota's bullpen came through after starter Nick Blackburn was hit in the nose by Bobby Abreu's line drive.

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Royals 6, Indians 1

At Kansas City, Mo., Brian Bannister pitched into the eighth inning and Mark Grudzielanek and Jose Guillen homered to help the Royals beat Cleveland.

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Angels 4, Blue Jays 3

At Anaheim, Calif., Toronto closer B.J. Ryan (1-1) hit Howie Kendrick with a pitch to force home the tying run in the ninth inning, and Maicer Izturis singled in the game-winner one pitch later for Los Angeles.

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Athletics 13, Rangers 8

At Arlington, Texas, Jack Cust and Mark Ellis homered in a nine-run seventh inning as Oakland rallied past the Rangers to end a four-game losing streak.

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Tigers 7, Mariners 5

At Seattle, Placido Polanco hit a tiebreaking single and Detroit scored four times in the ninth inning off struggling J.J. Putz (2-3) to beat the Mariners.



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National League:



If predicting the Cubs will win the World Series seems too premature at the point in the season consider this: they haven't been this good since they last won the championship 100 years ago.

Alfonso Soriano homered, Jim Edmonds drove in two runs, and the Chicago Cubs beat the reeling Colorado Rockies 5-3 on Sunday to complete a perfect seven-game homestand.

The Cubs entered June with the best record in baseball for the first time since 1908, when they last won a World Series. They started the new month by finishing a four-game sweep of the defending National League champions and sending them to their seventh straight loss.

Chicago is 26-8 at Wrigley Field after wrapping up its first perfect homestand of at least seven games since April 14-26, 1970. Now, they'll try to establish some momentum away from home.

The road has been far less friendly, and one concern is that they've played 11 more games at home than they have on the road.

"At the end of the day, you should play better at home," second baseman Mark DeRosa said. "I just think the splits and the numbers get skewed. We've only been on the road two or three times. You run into one bad road trip, it looks worse than it is."

The Cubs play 23 of their next 32 games on the road, where they're 10-13 heading into a seven-game trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.

"We'll get a pretty good gage of where we're at," Piniella said.

Meanwhile, the injury-plagued Rockies are on their worst slide since they dropped eight in a row over that same span, and they're showing no signs of a turnaround. They're 20-37 after their 16th loss in 21 games and are 17 games below .500 for the first time since they finished the 2005 season at 67-95.

"We're playing hard," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We continue to get dinged now and then with some execution issues and that elusive big hit is still out there."

Elsewhere in the NL it was: Philadelphia 7, Florida 5; Cincinnati 6, Atlanta 2; Arizona 5, Washington 0; Milwaukee 10, Houston 1; St. Louis 7, Pittsburgh 4; San Francisco 4, San Diego 3; and New York 6, Los Angeles 1.

At Chicago, rookie Sean Gallagher (3-1) dominated them at times, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out a career-high eight batters in 5 2-3 innings. He did not allow a walk but hit two while winning his second straight start, and left with a 4-2 lead following a double by Omar Quintanilla in the sixth.

Michael Wuertz came on and promptly gave up an RBI double to Yorvit Torrealba and walked Ryan Spilborghs before Scott Eyre caught Willy Taveras looking at a 3-2 fastball. Bob Howry pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for Chicago, before Kerry Wood worked the ninth for his 14th save in 18 chances.

Edmonds appears to be in a good place at the moment. He homered and had three hits on Friday and followed that with another big day at the plate on Sunday.

He tripled off the centre-field wall in the second, drove an RBI double off the ivy in left in the fourth and walked with the bases loaded in the fifth to make it 4-2. Soriano made it 5-3 with a solo shot in the sixth - his 13th homer of the season and his second in as many games.

Aramis Ramirez added two singles, a double and an RBI as the Cubs (36-21) matched their longest win streak since they won seven straight from June 22-29.

"It's getting there," said Edmonds, who began the season on the disabled list and got cut by San Diego before joining the Cubs. "It doesn't mean much unless you do it tomorrow."

Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez (1-6) remained winless since April 8, allowing four runs, three earned, and seven hits in five innings. He's 0-5 in his last 10 starts, and the Rockies are 1-11 in games he's pitched.

Jimenez got dinged in the first when Ryan Theriot drove a single off his left knee before scoring on Ramirez's base hit, but he stayed in there and expects to make his next start.

"I didn't want to come out of the game," Jimenez said. "I wanted to be there and do everything possible to stay deep in the game."



Phillies 7, Marlins 5

At Philadelphia, Chase Utley hit his major league-leading 20th homer, Pat Burrell had a tiebreaking, two-run double and the Phillies rallied to get the win.

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Reds 6, Braves 2

At Cincinnati, Ken Griffey Jr. remained one homer shy of 600, but Jay Bruce had a solo shot and a run-scoring single to lead the Reds to the victory.

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Diamondbacks 5, Nationals 0

At Phoenix, Dan Haren tossed seven sharp innings and Orlando Hudson hit a three-run homer for Arizona.

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Brewers 10, Astros 1

At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun and Russell Branyan hit two-run homers and the Brewers finished off a sweep of the weekend series.

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Cardinals 7, Pirates 4

At St. Louis, Braden Looper continued his torrid hitting to help earn himself a win against Pittsburgh.

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Giants 4, Padres 3 (10 innings)

At San Francisco, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis hit a two-run, game-tying triple off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman in the 10th inning and scored the winning run on Jose Castillo's infield single.

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Mets 6, Dodgers 1

At New York, Johan Santana pitched into the eighth inning to earn his 100th win, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church each hit a two-run homer and the suddenly surging Mets beat Los Angeles.

 
 
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