Long robs Ramirez, Red Sox

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 8, 2002

Credit this save to Terrence Long.

Long raced to the right-center field fence, reached into the Boston bullpen and made a game-ending, backhanded catch that robbed Manny Ramirez of a three-run homer and preserved Oakland's 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

''That's about the best you can get,'' teammate Jermaine Dye said. ''Bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, the game on the line and the No. 4 hitter up.''

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Long's catch helped A's reliever Billy Koch escape a jam for the second straight inning.

Koch walked Johnny Damon and allowed a single to Trot Nixon with one out in the ninth before striking out Nomar Garciaparra. Ramirez, who hit his 19th homer of the year in the fourth, then sent a drive that kept carrying.

A security guard in the Red Sox bullpen had his arms raised in celebration before Long's catch gave Koch his 28th save in 33 chances.

''A little bit of surprise, and a little bit of luck,'' Long said. ''Once I got close to the track, the ball was hit high enough that I was able to slow down in case I had to jump.''

In other AL games, it was: New York 6, Kansas City 2; Seattle 5, Toronto 4; Chicago 7, Anaheim 6; Baltimore 6, Minnesota 4; Cleveland 6, Tampa Bay 2; and Texas 7, Detroit 2.

Long's catch ended a tense two innings for Oakland, now 58-0 in games it led in the ninth.

Koch ran out to shallow center to give Long a grateful hug after the grab and several other A's ran out to celebrate.

''It was a great catch,'' said Boston bullpen coach Bob Kipper, who had a good view. ''No. 1, he gets to it. No. 2, he catches it. No. 3, he hangs on to it.''

Dye hit a two-run homer and Aaron Harang (4-2) allowed one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings and left with a 2-1 lead.

Oakland tied Boston for second in the wild card race, 1 1/2 games behind Anaheim.

Yankees 6, Royals 2

Roger Clemens came off the disabled list to throw seven sharp innings at Yankee Stadium, getting home run support from Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter to earn his 289th career win.

Driving off the mound with strength and purpose, the Rocket (9-3) showed no ill effects of the injured right groin that kept him out since July 13.

Posada drove in four runs with a three-run homer off Jeff Suppan (8-11) and a bases-loaded walk, while Jeter went deep for the first time in a month.

Mariners 5, Blue Jays 4,

10 innings

Chris Woodward hit three home runs for Toronto, but Dan Wilson homered in the 10th inning off Luke Prokopec (2-9) to lift visiting Seattle to the win.

In a game featuring seven homers, Woodward had the biggest night of all. Woodward, who started the day with eight home runs in 148 at-bats this season, had the first multihomer game of his career.

The Toronto shortstop homered in three straight at-bats, including a tying shot off Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki (3-5) with one out in the ninth.

White Sox 7, Angels 6

Royce Clayton hit a game-winning RBI single off Brendan Donnelly (0-1) with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead Chicago past Anaheim.

Frank Thomas hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Magglio Ordonez added a two-run shot in the seventh as the White Sox rallied from a 6-2 deficit.

Antonio Osuna (6-2) got one out for the win.

Orioles 6, Twins 4

Gary Matthews Jr. had three hits and two RBIs, and Scott Erickson (5-10) overcame his own shaky fielding to earn his second win since April 28 as Baltimore defeated visiting Minnesota.

Melvin Mora had two hits and drove in two runs for the Orioles, who built an early 5-0 lead against Rick Reed (9-6) and held on.

It was the third consecutive loss for the Twins, their longest skid since they dropped three straight June 19-21.

Indians 6, Devil Rays 2

C.C. Sabathia got his elusive seventh win and Karim Garcia hit a two-run homer off Tanyon Sturtze (1-12) for host Cleveland.

Sabathia (7-9) won for the first time since June 28 -- a span of seven starts -- by limiting the Devil Rays to two runs and five hits in seven innings.

Rangers 7, Tigers 2,

11 innings

Kevin Mench hit a tiebreaking RBI single and Alex Rodriguez added a two-run double in Texas' five-run 11th inning.

Former Tiger Francisco Cordero (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. The Associated Press