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 BOSTON (AP) - David Ortiz has had no trouble getting on base in the postseason - and Manny Ramirez has been quick to follow.
Boston's two best sluggers reached base safely in their 10 combined plate appearances Friday night, leading the Red Sox to a 10-3 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the AL championship series.
Ortiz doubled, singled, walked twice and was hit by a pitch from C.C. Sabathia in the third inning. Ramirez singled twice and walked three times. Each scored two runs and Ramirez finished with three RBIs.
``We know they're going to pitch us carefully,'' Ortiz said. ``That's why we need the rest of the guys to have a good approach at the plate, too.''
They provided plenty of support against the Tribe. Every Red Sox starter got at least one hit - though no one managed anything close to Papi and Manny's performance.
``Wow, they were on base, what, 10 times,'' Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. ``That's kind of the extreme. But again, I thought we had good at-bats all the way up and down, and we had a lot of baserunners and took advantage of it.''
Including Boston's three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in the division series, Ortiz has reached in 16 of his 18 plate appearances in the postseason. Ramirez has been on base in 13 of his 18 appearances.
``They're aggressive, they're patient, they're picking their spots,'' Boston's Mike Lowell said. ``It doesn't seem like it's just one thing, they just have solid at-bats.''
Ortiz and Ramirez are showing impressive patience. Both had two homers against the Angels, but they have eight walks apiece, and Ortiz has the one hit-by-pitch.
Ramirez's plate awareness paid off against the Indians. He was down 0-2 twice - and each time managed a bases-loaded walk.
In the third against Sabathia, he swung and missed twice, then looked at four low pitches to earn a free pass and give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. He fouled two off against left-hander Aaron Fultz in the sixth before looking at four straight balls to make it 9-2.
``I told Manny, he was 0-2 twice, and he was able to spit on those pitches, those tough pitches, and draw walks,'' Lowell said. ``I told him, 'Are you just fouling balls off to mess around or what?'''
The big playoffs for the two sluggers comes after their regular seasons were hampered by injuries.
Ramirez missed 24 games toward the end of the season with a strained muscle in his left side. Ortiz played much of the season with a sore right knee that probably will require offseason surgery.
Ortiz's 35 homers and 117 RBIs were the second-fewest in his five seasons with Boston. Ramirez finished with 20 homers and 88 RBIs - his lowest totals since he was a rookie with Cleveland in 1994.
``They both got it going about the same time, and with Manny coming back, they obviously are both tremendous hitters,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ``But I think it's just as important what you do with the guys ahead of them and behind them.''
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