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Sox win

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  July 2, 2007 10:19 PM

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The string of five consecutive one-run games was broken tonight with the Sox defeating the Rangers 7-3 before 36,778 at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox managed 10 hits and had two three-run innings (the third and fifth). The Sox ended their first half at 50-31, which was also their record last year.

The Sox got a little pop from Manny Ramirez (RBI double off the center field wall in the third) and quite a spark from No. 9 hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base four times with a pair of hits, two walks, a stolen base and scored from second on a wild pitch.

The Sox also welcomed the return of the formerly benched Julio Lugo. Boston fans felt truly sorry for the embattled shortstop because when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, there were chants of "Let's go Lugo!" before he grounded out to end the inning.

Lugo actually did a couple of good things - walking twice and laying down a nice sacrifice bunt which wound up scoring both the runners he advanced when Dustin Pedroia slammed a two-run double in the third to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.

But Lugo went 0-for-2 and that awful streak has reached 0-for-33.

No worry, though. even on a night when Kevin Youkilis was out with quad strain, sub Eric Hinske had a pair of hits including a bases-loaded triple in fifth to out the Sox out in front for good. This was w elcome sight as well as the Sox had hit .119 with runners in scoring position in the previous four games. This was real progress.

Of course the truest sign the Red Sox offense is clicking when David Ortiz starts to produce big hits. That didn't happen again last night. Ortiz singled in the first inning, but was retired in his next four times up. The continued drought came after a long chat with Terry Francona yesterday afternoon in which the manager spoke to Ortiz about not letting his frustration get to him.

The Sox got a decent 5-2/3 innings out of lefty Kason Gabbard (2-0), whose major mistake was a three-run homer hit by Brad Wilkerson in the fifth inning. He had been crusiing until then, but given his role as the No. 5 starter the Sox were happy to take it.

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