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Updated: Sunday, May 22, 2005 8:52 PM EDT
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2

(24-19)
5

(25-18)
  R H E  
Braves 2 4 1 WP: Clement (5-0)
LP: Colon (0-1)  
Red Sox 5 14 0
Clement wins again, Ramirez homers as Red Sox top Braves

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Matt Clement got his wish when Manny Ramirez got back on track.

Clement tossed a four-hitter and Ramirez snapped a prolonged slide with a key two-run homer as the Boston Red Sox posted a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the rubber game of their three-game series.

Clement (5-0) allowed three singles and a double in logging his sixth career complete game and first since August 29, 2003. He did not walk a batter, struck out seven and continues to head a Boston rotation that has been hit hard by the offseason departure of Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe and early season injuries to ace Curt Schilling and veteran David Wells .

After being pulled from his last start after 5 2/3 innings, Clement was visibly disappointed leaving the mound. However, when Ramirez snapped a 19-for-96 slide with a two-run homer against Ramon Colon (0-1) in the sixth to push Boston's lead to 5-2, the game was Clement's to lose.

The 30-year-old Clement responded by retiring 17 of the last 18 batters he faced as Boston took an interleague series from the Braves at Fenway Park for the first time in six attempts.

"I think he's tired of me coming to get him," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He took it into his own hands. He was outstanding. ... He just attacked the strike zone. He was outstanding. There was no reason to go get him."

"It was his best day of strike one and if it wasn't strike one he made a quality pitch the very next pitch," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "They're swinging the bats right away and we were able to get first and second pitch outs right away."

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox , who had seen Clement in the National League, did not think he had changed much.

"He looked the same to me," Cox said. "I didn't see any difference. He still looked good."

"Anytime you throw a complete game you're pretty happy with it," Clement said. "It gives you a lot of momentum to build off of and against a team like the Braves it was exciting."

Clement, who threw 110 pitches, knew he was going to be asked about going the distance after being so demonstrative last time around.

"I knew my pitch count was decently low," he said. "I wanted to go back out there. I felt good. I felt like I had a pretty good rhythm going at the end of the game. I was expecting to go back out there for the ninth and I was pretty sure they were going to let me."

John Smoltz started for Atlanta but tired in the fifth. He allowed two unearned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, throwing 112 pitches.

"Today was a battle," Smoltz said. "I was probably one pitch away from giving up six runs and one pitch away from giving up zero runs. With this kind of lineup and this kind of park and the conditions, I battled them as much as I could."

"(Smoltz) had made some great pitches in the right situations," Varitek said. "He came up with the good pitches. He knows how not to give in."

Atlanta concluded a 12-game road trip, 4-8.

"I think everybody knew that this was going to be a tough trip," Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "Mentally there's no excuse for how we've played. We lost some games we should have won but we flat out got beat on most of them. Hopefully, going back home kind of re-energizes everyone so we can get on track again."

Atlanta scored twice in the fourth - on an RBI single by Marcus Giles and a sacrifice fly by Johnny Estrada .

Boston tied the game in the fifth as Kevin Youkilis delivered a two-out RBI single and Bill Mueller followed with a base hit that plated Varitek.

David Ortiz 's RBI double in the sixth gave the Red Sox the lead for good and Ramirez followed with his 11th home run. Ramirez has four RBI in his last two games after going four contests without one.

Ortiz has 20 hits in his last 60 at-bats and 26 of his 47 hits this season have been for extra bases.

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