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Strong for the week

Lowell and Ortiz share AL award

Jon Lester's brief stay in Portland was victorious, working six-plus innings. Jon Lester's brief stay in Portland was victorious, working six-plus innings. (JOEL PAGE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NEW YORK -- The week that may have decided the American League East race did not pass unnoticed when Major League Baseball handed out some modest prizes yesterday. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell and David Ortiz were named AL Co-Players of the Week.

Lowell batted .500 (14 for 28) with three doubles, a home run, 11 RBIs, and a .714 slugging percentage while hitting safely in all seven games. This was the first time Lowell has been named Player of the Week in the AL, a distinction he gained twice in the National League.

"Mike Lowell carried us," rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after the Sox completed their four-game sweep of the White Sox Sunday. "It's unbelievable what he did."

Lowell is having a terrific second half, batting .364 with three home runs and 30 RBIs. With a .323 average overall, he stands a good chance of hitting .300 for the first time in the big leagues, and with 93 RBIs, he's in great position to better the career-high 105 RBIs he had with the Marlins in 2003.

Ortiz, meanwhile, hit .478 with two doubles, a triple, three home runs, and eight RBIs in six games. He also scored 11 runs.

It wasn't long ago when it appeared Ortiz might have trouble hitting 30 home runs this season, which would have made him only the fourth player to hit 50 one season and fewer than 30 the next. But after going 10 games without a home run, Ortiz has hit five in his last 10 games, including the grand slam off the Angels' Jered Weaver when the Sox fought back from a 5-0 deficit, a game that may have helped galvanize this club to winning six of seven games on a turning-point road trip.

"I never thought he was all that bad," Lowell said with a touch of sarcasm about Ortiz, who has a .324 average and .436 on-base percentage, both of which would be career bests. "Home runs come in bunches. You get hot, you can hit three home runs like he did. But it's not a shoo-in. But it's a nice feeling to see him driving the ball like that."

Hitting on all cylinders
Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits, including his second home run, to extend his club-record hitting streak at Pawtucket to 23 games. The PawSox lost at Rochester, 10-5, last night . . . Jon Lester pitched into the seventh for Double-A Portland, allowing a run on five hits and four walks. He struck out four in the Sea Dogs' 5-2 victory over Trenton. Lester is expected to make his next start for the Red Sox . . . The Sox said four of their prospects will be playing in the Arizona Fall League: righthander Kyle Jackson, lefthander Hunter Jones, first baseman Aaron Bates, and shortstop Jed Lowrie. They will play for the Mesa Solar Sox.

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