Hanley putting first-place Sox on his back

September 19th, 2016

BOSTON -- could hear the pleading of his teammates from the bench, and he didn't want to let them down.

Then again, when has Ramirez let anyone down during this stretch in which he's tormented opponents with amazing regularity?

This 5-4 victory by the Red Sox over the Yankees on Sunday night was set up by one defining moment in the bottom of the fifth inning.

snared a liner by and should have had an inning-ending double play. But the lefty's throw to first base was high, and couldn't reel it in.

At this moment, the Red Sox were down, 4-0. But they had two men on base and the hottest run producer on the planet at the plate.

"I was just listening from the dugout, 'Make them pay. Make them pay.' I've got to give a lot of credit to the guys on the bench," said Ramirez. "They are pushing hard to keep us in the game."

In case you hadn't guessed, Ramirez scorched a three-run laser that cleared the Monster, and the Red Sox were suddenly down by just a run.

"Glad he's on our team. That's all you can really say right now," said Red Sox center fielder "Electrifying. It seems that every at-bat he goes up there, everybody's watching, and you feel like something is going to happen."

Two innings later, everyone was watching again when Ramirez stepped to the plate, this time in a 4-4 game against a righty reliever in who had been nearly unhittable since returning to the Yankees in a trade on July 31.

But Ramirez clipped the righty with another homer over the Monster, this one giving the Red Sox the 5-4 lead they held on to for the rest of the night.

It was Ramirez who kicked off this four-game sweep of the Yankees with a majestic, three-run walk-off homer on Thursday. So perhaps it was only fitting he gave Boston's rivals the final gut punch.

"The run that Hanley's on right now, yeah, you can probably attach any word you want to how impressive he is right now," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's balanced, he's powerful, the bat speed -- all of the above. He's a major force right now."

Ramirez belted four homers in the four-game series, tying a team record for a set against the Yankees that was last achieved by Manny Ramirez in 2006. Hanley's nine RBIs were the most by a Boston player against the Yankees since Manny in that same '06 series.

For the season, Hanley Ramirez has a line of .294/.364/.517 to go with 28 homers and 106 RBIs. Since Aug. 29, Ramirez has 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 74 at-bats while boasting a 1.335 OPS.

In Sundays' game, Ramirez filled in for his close friend in the cleanup spot and at designated hitter. If Ramirez is going to stay this hot, maybe Big Papi can get some more rest down the stretch.

"On a day when you give David a blow, you put Hanley in the middle, you don't seem to skip a beat," said Farrell. "It's a luxury for us with the depth of the lineup. His comeback, his resurgence, it has been a major factor for where we stand today."