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Martinez keys 6-run 9th, Red Sox beat Rangers 8-4

Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, right, is congratulated by teammate Mike Lowell (25) after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers.
Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, right, is congratulated by teammate Mike Lowell (25) after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers.
Tim Sharp, Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Victor Martinez looks like he'll fit right in during another pennant race in Boston.

The transplant from Cleveland had his biggest hit since being traded to the Red Sox, a go-ahead double with two outs in a six-run ninth inning that gave Boston an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

The win extended Boston's lead over Texas in the wild card to 1 games.

Boston needed Martinez's hit because pinch-runner Clay Buchholz was thrown out at home as the tying run after a double by Dustin Pedroia.

Buchholz, a starting pitcher, hesitated between second and third base when Texas left fielder David Murphy leaped to try to catch Pedroia's drive at the wall. Murphy quickly retrieved the ball and threw to Michael Young, whose relay beat a sliding Buchholz. The Red Sox ended up with runners at second and third, and Martinez followed with the go-ahead hit.

"I saw three pitches and finally got a fastball right down the middle and I got a good swing at it," Martinez said. "My teammates have made it easy for me to fit in."

Boston finished off Texas closer Frank Francisco with Jason Bay's RBI single and a two-run home run by J.D. Drew. Francisco (2-2), who blew his third save in 19 chances, gave up seven hits and six runs. It was the first time he's allowed more than four hits or four runs in 203 major league appearances.

"I don't want anyone at my locker so beat it," Francisco said.

The Rangers had won 72 straight games at home when leading after eight innings. The last time they blew such a lead was September 2007.

"It doesn't really affect us," said Young, who had a two-run homer and three RBIs. "We have so much confidence in the back end of our bullpen. It's a fluke when this happens."

Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito (3-3) got the win after pitching a scoreless eighth. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth, an anticlimactic non-save situation after the drama the preceded it.

"When you think you've seen everything, you probably haven't come close," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That was probably one of the more exciting innings I've been a part of."

David Ortiz, dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time since May 24, 2003, ruined Kevin Millwood's chance for a third victory against Boston this season by wiping out a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning with a homer off Eddie Guardado, a left-hander brought in to face him.

Millwood was replaced because wildness had caused him to burn through 110 pitches in 5 2-3 innings. He allowed three singles but walked five and hit a batter. He struck out four, leaving his ERA at 1.45 against Boston this season.

Millwood looked like he would survive the sixth when he got the first two hitters on four pitches. But a walk to Mike Lowell led to the call for Guardado, and Ortiz lined a 3-2 pitch into the Texas bullpen in right-center field.

Andruw Jones put the Rangers back on top at 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth with a bloop single off Jon Lester, who struck out the side in three of his six innings and finished with 11 strikeouts.

In the first inning, Lester walked Omar Vizquel and gave up Young's 20th home run before coming back to strike out the side. He did it again in the fourth and the sixth, when he finished his outing with consecutive strikeouts of Josh Hamilton, Hank Blalock and Murphy. Blalock struck out four times.

Hamilton went 2 for 3 with a walk in his first home game since the revelation that the All-Star with the inspiring comeback from drug and alcohol addiction had a drunken episode in an Arizona bar in January.

NOTES: Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury, in a 4-for-17 slide, wasn't in the starting lineup. He pinch-hit for Nick Green in the seventh and stayed in the game in center. ... Boston RHP Tim Wakefield will make a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket at Gwinnett on Saturday. Wakefield has been on the 15-day DL since July 21 due to a lower back strain. ... The Rangers signed three draft picks: LHP Chad Bell (14th round), RHP Shawn Blackwell (24th) and OF Riley Cooper (25th). ... Rangers RHP Brandon McCarthy had a strong rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma on Thursday night, but the timing of his return to the big leagues is still unclear. He's on the 60-day DL with a stress fracture in his right shoulder. ... Rangers C Jarrod Saltalamacchia left the game in the fourth inning with numbness in his right hand. He was replaced by Taylor Teagarden. ... The Red Sox designated INF Chris Woodward for assignment, clearing the way for SS Alex Gonzalez to join them after Friday's trade with Cincinnati.