CLEVELAND (AP) - Manny Ramirez cared - that his drive to center field became a single instead of a home run.
A day after he created a ruckus with remarks that winning the AL championship series didn't mean everything, Boston's laid-back cleanup hitter put up an argument with umpires - an unsuccessful one.
Ramirez wound up with a 390-foot single instead of a two-run homer, but it turned out to be not so big a deal. The Red Sox beat Cleveland 7-1 Thursday night, closing to 3-2 and sending the best-of-seven series back to Boston for Game 6 on Saturday night.
Some fans in Fenway Park may boo him for his casual comments in a rare clubhouse interview on Wednesday's workout day - and for his failure to run hard out of the batter's box on his drive in Game 5.
``It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world,'' he said then.
More likely, the Red Sox faithful will cheer his outstanding postseason play - a .471 batting average with two homers and eight RBIs.
More than two hours before Thursday's game, manager Terry Francona brushed off the words of the seemingly pressure-proof Ramirez.
``I have a pretty good feeling that it's Manny saying, `Hey, we're fine,' `` Francona said, ``because a guy that shows up after getting in at 5 o'clock in the morning to hit, those actions are what I care about.''
Francona said Ramirez's words ``won't have any difference in the outcome.''
On Wednesday, Ramirez raised his arms and preened like a peacock when he homered to cut Boston's deficit to four runs. On Thursday, he started jogging to first base in the third inning when he sent a C.C. Sabathia pitch toward the center-field wall.
Grady Sizemore leaped, and the ball appeared to hit the yellow line on top of the 9-foot high wall - or perhaps before bouncing on the field. Right-field umpire Paul Emmel never gave the home run signal, and replays were inconclusive. Ground rules at Jacobs Field state a ball must completely clear the yellow line at the top of the wall to be a homer.
David Ortiz, who had walked, scored easily on the play for a 2-1 lead. Ramirez gestured in disagreement with the umpires' decision. He was joined by manager Terry Francona and first-base coach Luis Alicea.
The call stood and Sabathia stranded Ramirez by striking out Mike Lowell.
Ramirez was in the spotlight from the first inning on Thursday. He doubled to left center, tying Pete Rose's LCS record of hitting in 15 consecutive games. Then Mike Lowell hit a soft single to right, and third base coach DeMarlo Hale energetically waved Ramirez home.
Ramirez's lack of speed was no match for Franklin Gutierrez's powerful arm, and Ramirez was out by several feet.
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