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AL ROUNDUP

Red Sox Clinch Playoff Spot Again

September 28, 2004|From Associated Press

Pedro Martinez pranced through the champagne-soaked clubhouse in a drenched Harvard baseball T-shirt, hugging teammates and savoring another Red Sox playoff berth.

Boston clinched its second straight trip to the postseason Monday night, beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7-3, behind Manny Ramirez's AL-leading 43rd home run and Johnny Damon's go-ahead, three-run shot at St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We haven't accomplished anything yet," Ramirez said after getting repeatedly sprayed with champagne. "We're going to take it to another level and see what happens."

The Red Sox, assured of no worse than the AL wild-card berth, closed within three games of the AL East-leading New York Yankees with six games left.

Amid the clubhouse party, though, there was a unified message: They aren't finished, yet.

"We're happy to be in the playoffs, but there's a lot more this team has to do," Damon said.

"This is the beginning. I think they feel that way, too," Manager Terry Francona said. "But I want them to have their fun. It's very sweet."

The Red Sox went ahead on Damon's homer and Ramirez's 458-foot, two-run drive after Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir was ejected for hitting Ramirez and Kevin Millar with pitches in the fourth inning.

Detroit 4, Chicago 2 -- Dmitri Young hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning at Detroit, and the Tigers ended a five-game losing streak.

Cleveland 6, Kansas City 1 -- Casey Blake drove in three runs and Jake Westbrook pitched seven strong innings to lead the Indians at Kansas City, Mo.

Toronto 4, Baltimore 1 -- Gregg Zaun homered and Orlando Hudson had three hits, leading the Blue Jays at Baltimore.

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