Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez’s 2-run homer gives Red Sox 5-4 win over Astros
|07.05.15 at 5:37 pm ET|
Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate with the Red Sox trailing 4-3 and a runner on first in the seventh inning in the midst of an 0-for-9 skid, but with as good of a hitter as he is, that didn’t matter one bit.
The slugger lined a two-run homer into the Monster seats, proving to be the difference in the Red Sox’ 5-4, come-from-behind win over the Astros.
They took 2-of-3 in the series and have won three straight series for the first time since the first three of the season. Overall, the Red Sox have won four of their last five series’ — all coming against teams with records over .500.
The seventh inning homer was Ramirez’s 18th home run of the season and he has five homers over his last 10 games.
“Well first of all we’ve come back multiple times in this series and the way our offense is starting to come together, we’re capable of doing that more frequently,” manager John Farrell said. “But obviously a timely two-run homer by Hanley. He gets a changeup out front that he hits with one hand. But you look at the 11-pitch at-bat [with David Ortiz] prior to Hanley may have taken a little bit out of [Tony] Sipp in that moment. Still, a key win here today; good series win.”
Junichi Tazawa (win) tossed a scoreless eighth inning and Koji Uehara pitched the ninth, earning his 19th save, working around a Brock Holt error to open the inning.
Things didn’t look good for the Red Sox before Ramirez’s homer, as they blew a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
Leading 3-1, reliever Alexi Ogando allowed back-to-back home runs into the Monster seats. With two outs in the inning, 20-year-old phenom Carlos Correa lined a shot over the Monster for a two-run homer to tie the game at three and then the very next batter, Evan Gattis, hit one to almost the exact same spot giving the Astros a 4-3 lead.
This all came after the bottom of the sixth when the Red Sox scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead at the time.
With the game tied at one in the sixth inning, the Red Sox took advantage of some spotty Astros defense. Ramirez reached on an error to open the frame and came around to score on Pablo Sandoval’s double to left, which was bobbled by left fielder Evan Gattis, allowing Ramirez to score from first.
Then with two outs, Ryan Hanigan slapped a RBI single to right, scoring Sandoval and giving the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff — needing 101 pitches to get through five innings, but he only allowed one run. The rookie left-hander went five innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking one and striking out eight. The eight strikeouts were a career-high.
Rodriguez was able to get out of couple jams, as he stranded a runner at third base to end the second and recorded back-to-back strikeouts with a runner at second to end the fifth. He became the first pitcher since at least 1914 to allow one or no runs in at least six of his first eight major league outings, all starts.
“I got a chance to catch a couple bullpens when I was coming back and he was just on point,” Hanigan said. “Then tonight it was awesome. When he was missing, he was just missing, so his pitch count got a little high by the fifth. His command, his execution, just his stuff in general is pretty impressive for a guy his age, for sure.”
The Red Sox got their first run in the second inning on a Hanigan RBI single, which plated Sandoval who had singled earlier in the inning.
Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Sandoval was 3-for-4 with two runs scored to pace the offense. He came into the game 0 for his last six.
— Mookie Betts went 1-for-3 with two walks to extend his hit streak to seven games. In that span he’s hitting .419.
— Hanigan went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. He’s now reached base safely in 18 of his 20 starts this season. It was his first three-hit game since April 19, 2014 against the Yankees.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Ogando’s two home runs allowed snapped a scoreless streak that had reached 15 1/3 innings. He’s allowed 14 runs this season, 11 coming off homers.
— David Ortiz, playing first base, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
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