NEW YORK -- For the second night in a row, Hanley Ramirez made his presence felt at Yankee Stadium with an impressive home run.After losses in the first two games of this rivalry showdown against the Yankees, Ramirez helped the Red Sox escape with a 5-4 win in the series
NEW YORK -- For the second night in a row, Hanley Ramirez made his presence felt at Yankee Stadium with an impressive home run.
After losses in the first two games of this rivalry showdown against the Yankees, Ramirez helped the Red Sox escape with a 5-4 win in the series finale.
The veteran had three RBIs in his first three at-bats to get his team out to a 4-0 lead.
It turns out the Red Sox needed all of those RBIs. The Yankees, as they've been doing to everyone lately, came roaring back and tied the game with a four-spot in the bottom of the seventh.
Ramirez's liner to open the top of the fifth had an exit velocity of 111.7 mph and traveled a projected distance of 412 feet, according to Statcast™.
However, off the bat, with a launch angle of just 18 degrees, it looked like it might not be high enough to get out of the park. But it kept going and landed in Boston's bullpen.
"Off the bat I thought it was a double," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He put a good swing on it and stayed inside it."
Ramirez admitted he didn't think it would be a home run either.
"No, no, even J.D. [Martinez] told me, 'Wow, you've got some pop.' I said, 'Yeah, you know that.'" Ramirez said.
The home run came against lefty Carsten Sabathia, who had dominated the Red Sox over the last couple of seasons, but struggled in this one.
After going 80 at-bats without a homer, Ramirez has two of them in the last two games. His majestic shot against the Yankees into the second deck in left on Wednesday gave the Red Sox the lead in the top of the seventh, but New York came storming back in the bottom of the eighth and came away with a 9-6 win.
But the Red Sox seemed poised to bounce back Thursday, building a 3-0 lead against Sabathia through three innings on three RBIs that didn't leave the infield.
Mookie Betts led off the game with a ground-rule double to right that had an exit velocity of just 90.6 mph, according to Statcast™. Andrew Benintendi moved Betts to third with a grounder to first. Ramirez then hit a 106-mph grounder to short that allowed Betts to score.
Two innings later, Betts again got things started, this time with a single up the middle. Benintendi, who loves hitting in Yankee Stadium, smashed a double to right, putting runners on second and third with none out.
Ramirez then softly placed a single (76.2-mph exit velocity) that found its way through the shift and into the glove of diving second baseman Gleyber Torres, who had been playing on the shortstop side of the bag.
Later on, however, Ramirez would make a much stronger connection with the baseball.
Ramirez is already looking forward to the next Red Sox-Yankees matchup, which takes place June 29-July 1 in the Bronx.
The teams parted ways tied for the best record in the Majors at 26-11.
"We're going to take off," Ramirez said. "We're going to keep winning games like we've been doing. It's a long season. You're going to have ups and downs. Our manager, man, everybody here is loose and everybody comes here every day ready to work and we do what we've got to do every day to win games."
But the Yankees have gotten Ramirez's attention. Are these the two best teams?
"Yeah. Definitely. You saw it today," said Ramirez. "They don't give up, they don't give up. I'm very confident in what we've got. This is our team right here and we're concentrating on what we can do and see what we can do better to keep winning."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.