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  Tuesday, Sep. 12 7:05pm ET
Sox's six-run third key to beating Finley

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox aren't worrying about magic numbers, the New York Yankees or the out-of-town-scoreboard.

It's too late for that stuff.

Ramon Martinez
Ramon Martinez had a reason to hang his head -- he served up a two-run homer to Manny Ramirez before leaving in the sixth.

"We know what we have to do," closer Derek Lowe said. "If you win, you're in. If not, you're playing golf on Oct. 2."

Dante Bichette hit a two-run homer in the third when Chuck Finley had one of his typical one-inning meltdowns, and the Red Sox gained in the AL wild-card race Tuesday night with an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

It was the first of eight games in 10 days between the Red Sox and Indians, who have met three times in the postseason since 1995 and don't like each other. In the past two years they've traded wins, punches and brushback pitches.

"Getting the first one is very big," Boston outfielder Darren Lewis said. "All the games are very important, but it's great to get out of the gate like that. We're not the type of team that's going to panic. That's why we've been successful the past few years."

Bichette's homer capped Boston's six-run third off Finley (12-11), and the Red Sox, who came in losing four of six, hung on to pull within two games of the Indians for the final playoff spot.

"We know where we are," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "They're ahead of us and all these games are important."

Nomar Garciaparra, who entered the series batting just .133 this season against Cleveland, drove in two runs for Boston and threw out a runner at the plate.

Jose Offerman and Carl Everett also had two RBI apiece as the Red Sox 2-3-4-5 hitters drove in all their runs.

Ramon Martinez (10-6) pitched into the sixth, and three relievers combined for three perfect innings. Lowe got his 33rd save, but only after allowing Travis Fryman's double and Russell Branyan's RBI single.

The Red Sox have to like their chances of picking up more ground on the Indians this week. Pedro Martinez, 8-0 in his career against Cleveland, will pitch the series finale.

"Not to say Pedro is a guaranteed win or anything," Lowe said. "But if we can win tomorrow there's a good chance we can win all three."

Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer and had four RBI for the Indians, who made two bad baserunning plays early on and thanks to Finley, trailed 6-1 after the top of the third.

"We made some mistakes that hurt us," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "Without them we get more runs."

Finley needed just 27 pitches to get past the first two innings, but it took him 26 to get out of a disastrous third. That's been a familiar pattern this season for Finley, signed this winter to a $27 million, three-year contract to pitch in big games like this.

In 30 starts this season, Finley has had 12 innings in which he gave up three or more runs.

"Outside of that one inning, he pitched a good game," catcher Sandy Alomar said. "He got some pitches up."

Bichette's third homer since joining the Red Sox on Aug. 31 capped Boston's third against Finley, who got himself into trouble by walking No. 9 hitter Manny Alexander on four pitches with one out.

Offerman and Everett hit RBI singles before Garciaparra's two-run single put the Red Sox ahead 4-1. Bichette then hit a 2-1 pitch onto the home-run porch in left.

"Chuck just got the ball up a couple of times and we got some good wood on it," Bichette said.

The Indians loaded the bases with none out in the third and scored two runs, the first on a gift when Everett let Roberto Alomar's fly ball drop in. Sandy Alomar scored on the play, but Garciaparra easily threw out Lofton, who didn't slide, at home.

Trailing 6-3, Roberto Alomar led off the sixth with a double and Ramirez followed his 28th homer, finishing Martinez.

Game notes
Ramirez's 226th homer tied Hall of Famer Earl Averill for third on the team's career list. ... The Indians went 0-for-5 in coin tosses conducted Tuesday by the commissioner's office to determine sites for potential playoff games if there is a tie for the AL wild card. ... Cleveland's 444th consecutive sellout pushed the Indians over 3 million in attendance for the fifth straight year. ... The Martinez brothers -- Ramon and Pedro -- are a combined 26-11 this season. The rest of Boston's starters are 27-36. ... Garciaparra has two hits or more in seven of 10 games. ... The Red Sox have scored 120 runs in the third inning this season. Their next closest is 82 runs in the eighth.

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Texas 9
Baltimore 1

Texas 6
Baltimore 5

(2nd game)

Boston 8
Cleveland 6

NY Yankees 10
Toronto 2

Detroit 10
Chi. White Sox 3

Anaheim 5
Tampa Bay 2

Oakland 5
Minnesota 3

Seattle 11
Kansas City 3

Chicago Cubs 2
Cincinnati 1

Montreal 1
Philadelphia 0

St. Louis 11
Pittsburgh 1

NY Mets 10
Milwaukee 2

Florida 5
Atlanta 4

San Francisco 9
Houston 5

Arizona 5
Los Angeles 4

Colorado 6
San Diego 3

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