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Ramírez straddles the line

CLEVELAND - Another day in the adventures of Manny Ramírez.

Another day in which Ramírez decided to speak to the media - both in English and Spanish.

The suddenly chatty Red Sox left fielder sitting on a leather couch, eating while watching TV, fielded questions from reporters and also took some good-natured ribbing from David Ortiz and Julio Lugo. At one point Ortiz stepped in and said, "No more questions. I don't want you to [expletive] again!"

Ramírez was feeling loose and easy after the Sox' 7-1 win last night to force Game 6 tomorrow at Fenway Park. "We're happy that we're gonna take this to Boston."

Ramírez, wearing a purple tie, was razzed by teammates. Ortiz kidded that he was dressed as if he were going to a funeral.

"I hope to take this tie to Colorado," Ramírez said.

If the Sox were going to make it to Denver, they first had to get back to Boston.

Ramírez - as only Manny can - helped them push off toward home.

With two outs and Ortiz on first in the third inning, Ramírez drove the ball to the top of the wall in right-center.

As he does on such occasions, Ramírez watched the ball, feeling it would be gone, before jogging down the line.

As the ball bounded back into play, a confused Ramírez stopped at first, but Ortiz didn't stop running and came all the way around to score and give the Sox a 2-1 lead.

Ramírez thought the ball cleared the wall, but the umpires ruled it stayed in the park, hitting the yellow line demarking the top of the wall.

At the general managers meetings in Orlando next month, one of the issues that might be discussed is the use of instant replay for plays precisely like that one. But last night there was no replay and the call stood.

"I thought it was a home run," said Ramírez. "What can I say?"

The Sox bench also thought it was a home run, but the Jacobs Field ground rules state the ball must clear the yellow line to be a home run.

Television replays were inconclusive and there was no physical proof that the ball had cleared the line. Thus, right field umpire Paul Emmel and crew chief Randy Marsh, who was stationed at second, got the call right.

Vice president of umpires Mike Port did not see the play live, but league officials in New York told him "the umpires got it right."

Port said that invariably the subject of a limited instant replay for "boundary" calls at ballparks comes up at the meetings and expects they may again.

Port said that with 20 fairly new venues, it's getting harder for umpires to make the calls concerning balls in play and fan interference.

"It might be time to consider replay and help the umpires on those calls," Port said.

Sox general manager Theo Epstein said instant replay is frequently discussed, but the measure usually loses by a 2-to-1 vote. While there is no set agenda on instant replay, Epstein wouldn't be surprised if the issue came up again.

Ramírez had one of those Manny nights, seemingly in the middle of every key inning. He hit a double in the first, the single (that he thought was a homer) in the third, worked a walk in the fifth, then struck out in the seventh and eighth.

He was also thrown out at the plate to end the first inning when he failed to slide as he tried to score on Mike Lowell's single to right.

The hit raised his LCS hitting streak to 15 games, tying him with Pete Rose for the longest hitting streak in LCS history. The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers noted, "He didn't look like Rose coming into the plate."

Ramírez, who played his first seasons years in Cleveland and his last seven in Boston, has reached base in 22 of his 36 plate appearances in the postseason and has hit safely in 27 of his last 28 postseason games. His four homers tie him with Colorado's Matt Holliday for the major league lead and he also has 12 postseason RBIs.

Ramírez riled the Indians when he watched his majestic homer to center field in a 7-3 loss to the Indians in Game 4 Wednesday. A few Indians made comments about the inappropriate nature of Ramírez's act at home plate.

Ramírez fired back, "I'm not trying to show up anybody out there. I'm just trying to go have fun. If somebody strikes me out and shows me up, that's part of the game. I love it. I like that.

"I like to compete, and when people strike me out or whatever and they show me up, it's all good. There's no hard feelings. I'm not trying to show anybody up."

He then added, about Boston possibly losing the series, "If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something."

Thanks in part to Ramírez, it's not even the end of the playoffs.

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