J-Ram's historic homer keeps Guardians' momentum high

June 25th, 2024

BALTIMORE -- The Guardians have momentum and refuse to lose it. After sweeping a series against the Blue Jays, their power at the plate continued to shine through in the first of a three-game series against the Orioles on Monday night.

José Ramírez shined, hitting the go-ahead solo homer in the 3-2 win at Camden Yards for his 236th career dinger with the Guardians, helping power the club to its sixth straight win.

“It’s another milestone for me,” the third baseman said in Spanish. “I’m really happy with my work and the effort I always give and just keep moving forward. The goal is to win and that is what I’m focused on.”

After hitting an RBI single in the first inning, followed by a flyout in the third, Ramírez led off the sixth inning. With the game tied 2-2, the third baseman launched Orioles starter Cade Povich’s first offering of the inning, a 90 mph cutter right over the heart of the plate, deep for a homer with an exit velocity of 109.8 mph -- right into the O’s bullpen in center field (431 feet).

“I think that was just gathering information from his first couple of at-bats,” manager Stephen Vogt said. “Third time around is real, especially when you’re dealing with a hitter like José, and he got a fastball and he ambushed it and he’s just such a good hitter. He doesn’t ever try to do too much. He finds the barrel. For him to hit that ball, it was huge.”

The solo homer tied Manny Ramirez for third place on the all-time franchise list, and J-Ram is six long balls away from tying Albert Belle in second place (242).

He extended his on-base streak to seven consecutive games. With his 20th home run this year (tying Josh Naylor for the team lead), Ramírez now has seven 20-HR seasons in his career, tying him with Larry Doby for the second-most 20-HR seasons in franchise history. Only Jim Thome (nine) has more. Ramírez also collected his team-leading 19th multi-RBI game this year.

With all the milestones piling up, Ramírez said that while it is nice to see the numbers add up, that isn’t his primary focus.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m going to just do my best,” the 12-year veteran said. “If it translates into home runs, thank God, but the important thing is to win. I just want to win and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Guardians starter Tanner Bibee kept Baltimore’s lineup at bay after allowing an RBI single in the first inning and sac fly in the third inning. After he allowed traffic in the first three innings, he got comfortable and subsequently retired nine out of the last ten batters he faced.

“I think for me to pitch that well after giving up a run in the first and kind of not having my best stuff right away, I thought it was definitely refreshing,” the right-hander said. “I can look in the mirror and say I threw one, two times through the lineup without my best stuff and give up one earned, we’re going to take that every single time.”

His night ended after striking out the side in the sixth inning, allowing two runs (one earned) before the bullpen (Tim Herrin, Hunter Gaddis and Scott Barlow) threw one inning each to shut down the Orioles for the rest of the night. Barlow struck out the side in the ninth inning, getting Jordan Westburg to strike out on six pitches, followed by a nine-pitch strikeout against Cedric Mullins and a four-pitch punchout of Ryan Mountcastle.

“All of them can throw at any time and we’ve talked about that all year,” Vogt said about the ‘pen. “It makes life easy. It doesn’t ever get easy, but these guys, time and time again, step up and get it done, no matter what role we ask them to take.”