Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez (13) watches his three run home run during the fifth inning against the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez (13) watches his three run home run during the fifth inning against the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez is not of this world. At the very least, no ballpark can contain him.

Ramirez continued one of the most torrid stretches of his career on Sunday against the Yankees by smashing two home runs, including the go-ahead shot in the seventh, to lift the Red Sox to a 5-4 victory and four-game sweep that might just deal a death blow to the Yankees’ playoff hopes.

Ramirez, who began the series with a dramatic game-winning three-run homer, ended it with a three-run homer in the fifth and then the solo shot over everything in left in the seventh to send the Red Sox to Baltimore for a four-game showdown with the second-place Orioles.

The Red Sox needed Ramirez’s heroics, because left-hander Drew Pomeranz once again struggled with his command, allowing seven hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings, as well as another homer his 12th in 13 games.

Pomeranz got in trouble right off the top, allowing Brett Gardner to lead off the game with a double. He scored on a two-out single by Didi Gregorius.

The Yankees added another run in the third on the 16th homer of the season from catcher Gary Sanchez before chasing Pomeranz in the fourth. An infield single, double, and a walk loaded the bases, and the Yankees plated two runs with fielder’s choices before Farrell summoned right-hander Heath Hembree for the final out.

The Red Sox finally got to Yankees starter CC Sabathia in the fifth. Bryan Holaday led off with a double before Xander Bogaerts worked a one-out walk. Both runners advanced on Sabathia’s error after he caught Mookie Betts’ liner, but Ramirez rendered their respective choice of bases irrelevant with a line drive home run to left that made it 4-3.

The Red Sox tied the game in the sixth after singles by Travis Shaw, Aaron Hill, and Jackie Bradley Jr. plated a run. David Ortiz pinch hit to a standing ovation, but struck out. The Red Sox failed to score.

No matter. Ramirez took care of everything in the seventh against reliever Tyler Clippard by unloading on an off-speed pitch and blasting deep into the night to give the Red Sox their four-game sweep and a two-game lead in the division.

MVP candidate Mookie Betts helped the Red Sox hang on with a pair of brilliant diving catches, including one on Gardner leading off the ninth.

Closing Time note

Reliever Koji Uehara closed it out in the ninth for his seventh save. His last three saves have come against the Yankees, including two in July before he suffered the pectoral injury that nearly ended his season.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

David Ortiz has earned a night off.

The Red Sox DH, originally penciled in for the entire Yankees series, will skip Sunday’s finale to rest up for a four-game series with the Orioles that starts on Monday. He served as honorary captain at the Patriots-Dolphins game in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz has earned a night off.

The Red Sox DH, originally penciled in for the entire Yankees series, will skip Sunday’s finale to rest up for a four-game series with the Orioles that starts on Monday. He served as honorary captain at the Patriots-Dolphins game in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.

“When I talked with David after Friday night’s game, in large part because of the number of times he was on base and the extent to which he ran, with a quick turnaround on Saturday, we talked about the upcoming two days — yesterday and today,” manager John Farrell said. “With the late-night arrival, likely four right-handed starters in Baltimore, felt like this was the day to give him down.”

Ortiz leads the league in doubles with 47, a feat Farrell considers even more impressive than his 34 homers.

“I would say, yes,” Farrell said. “Fortunately here, I don’t know how many have been ground-rule where he’s jogging into second base, but it was before the All-Star break where you look up and he’s already in the low 30s, and at that point you look up and it’s a little bit of a head-scratcher. To see that number of doubles hit in this, what would be his last year, that’s a crazy amount if you ask me. A crazy amount. He’s got a chance to have 50-plus doubles, 35-plus home runs. That’s a career for a lot of guys.”

Here’s the Red Sox lineup, with Drew Pomeranz facing Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.

Pedroia 2B
Bogaerts SS
Betts RF
Ramirez DH
Young LF
Shaw 1B
Hill 3B
Bradley Jr. CF
Holaday C

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

The Red Sox look to complete a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday night with Drew Pomeranz squaring off against fellow left-hander CC Sabathia.

Pomeranz is 10-12 with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP in 28 starts. Since being traded to the Red Sox from the Padres in July, he is 2-5 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.381 WHIP in 11 starts. On Tuesday he had his worst start since being traded to Boston. He lasted just two innings, allowing five runs, four hits (two home runs) and two walks with three strikeouts in a 6-3 loss to the Orioles.

“With the number of pitches thrown by Drew, the time that he sat on the bench [in the bottom of the second], when he started the third inning, it looked like his stuff was backing up a little bit, and felt like we needed to go to the bullpen at that point,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Against the Yankees, Pomeranz is 1-1 with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.891 WHIP in four games (three starts). He has pitched against the New York twice this year. First as a member of the Padres in July he threw seven innings, allowing just one run, five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. He last saw the Yankees on Aug. 10 as a member of the Sox. In that outing, he threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run, six hits and one walk with five strikeouts in a 9-4 Sox loss.

Sabathia is 8-12 with a 4.10 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP in 27 starts. Over his last five starts he has recorded a 2.40 ERA. On Tuesday, the 36-year-old threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers.

“[Sabathia] did a tremendous job, to give us 6 1/3 great innings. [He] did a tremendous job, kept them in check for the most part,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said (via MLB.com). “Had a couple situations where he had to make big pitches, he was able to make them.”

Against Boston, Sabathia is 12-13 with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.348 WHIP in 33 starts. He last saw the Red Sox in July. In that start, he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned), nine hits and three walks with two strikeouts in a 5-2 Boston win.

Yankees vs. Pomeranz (LHP)

Chase Headley (15 plate appearances): .167 AVG./.333 OBP/.167 SLG, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Mark Teixeria (10): .111/.200/.111, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Starlin Castro is 0-for-7 with 1 RBI, 2 walks and 1 strikeout.

Jacoby Ellsbury is 3-for-7 with 2 doubles and 1 walk.

Brett Gardner is 3-for-9 with 1 home run, 1 RBI and 2 strikeouts.

Didi Gregorius is 2-for-7 with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Austin Romine is 2-for-5.

Brian McCann is 1-for-4 with 1 strikeout.

Rob Refsnyder is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Gary Sanchez is 1-for-2.

Red Sox vs. Sabathia (LHP)

David Ortiz (81 plate appearances): .219 AVG./.284 OBP/.342 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 7 RBIs 5 walks, 17 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (71): .274/.366/.323, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 8 walks, 15 strikeouts

Aaron Hill (34): .129/.206/.290, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (21): .133/.381/.200, 1 double, 1 RBI, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. (19): .214/.421/.214, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan (16): .375/.375/.625, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (10): .500/.500/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-10 with 1 strikeout.

Sandy Leon is 3-for-5 with 1 home run and 4 RBIs.

Brock Holt is 0-for-2 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Travis Shaw is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Chris Young is 1-for-2 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Bryan Holaday is 0-for-1 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Deven Marrero is 1-for-2.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

After the Red Sox’ latest win, Saturday afternoon, Hanley Ramirez reminded the media, “It’s a long season. You’re going to have some ups and downs.”

He was then presented with the notion that, with just 16 regular season games left, it actually wasn’t such a long season anymore. That didn’t sit well.

The Red Sox should be eyeing a chance to celebrate clinching the division. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox should be eyeing a chance to celebrate clinching the division. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

After the Red Sox’ latest win, Saturday afternoon, Hanley Ramirez reminded the media, “It’s a long season. You’re going to have some ups and downs.”

He was then presented with the notion that, with just 16 regular season games left, it actually wasn’t such a long season anymore. That didn’t sit well.

“Yes it is,” Ramirez responded. “There’s a lot of games left. Who knows?”

He’s right. Just ask Robbie Ross Jr.

On Sept. 24, 2012 his Rangers were five games up in the American League West, sitting with an American League-best 91 wins. Nine games, and just two victories, later, Texas found themselves playing a one-game Wild Card matchup against the Orioles.

On Oct. 5, 2012, Ross Jr.’s season ended when his team’s ace, Yu Darvish, was beaten by Baltimore’s Joe Saunders.

A year later, Ross Jr. and the Rangers lived the life of having an entire season rest on one game once again. This time it was in the form of Game No. 163, when Texas won its last seven games to earn the right to play Tampa Bay in a winner-take-all play-in to the playoffs.

Thanks in large part to David Price, the Rangers season once again ended with a one-game thud.

The moral of the story for these Red Sox: Don’t take the foot off the gas because you don’t want to take your chances with just nine innings standing between you and the golf course.

“When I was with Texas in 2012, it was like, ‘Oh crap, we have to face David Price now.’ You’re facing that ace,” Ross Jr. said. “You’ve got to be ready to roll. Winning that division early and knowing we have five games to go after it is a lot easier than knowing it’s one and done.”

Heading into Sunday night’s series finale with the Yankees, it would seem the Red Sox are in a pretty good spot. For the American League East, they are three games up on both Baltimore and Toronto, who are both three games ahead of Detroit, Houston and Seattle for the final Wild Card spot.

It would sure seem like some sort of postseason berth is in the cards for the Red Sox. But even if that’s the case, just playing beyond that final game against Toronto shouldn’t be the focus.

History scare the Red Sox into really, really not wanting to play that Wild Card game.

In 2013, the Indians fell one game short of equaling Central Division-winning Detroit. But instead of playing a best-of-five postseason series, Terry Francona’s club were forced to take on the Rays in the Wild Card tilt, which ultimately ended it’s season.

Or how about the Pirates?

Pittsburgh has been in the Wild Card game the last two seasons, missing out on the division lead by two games in both years. The payoff? In 2014, after winning 98 games, the Pirates got to face San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, and in 2015 the opponent was Jake Arietta of the Cubs. Neither ended well for the Bucs.

Lessons should be learned. The Red Sox will be best served not settling.

“Winning the division is huge,” Ross Jr. said. “But with this team if we win the division or a Wild Card spot I think we’ll be good because we have some tough guys. Mentally tough. It’s awesome.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox should be eyeing a chance to celebrate clinching the division. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox should be eyeing a chance to celebrate clinching the division. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

After the Red Sox’ latest win, Saturday afternoon, Hanley Ramirez reminded the media, “It’s a long season. You’re going to have some ups and downs.”

He was then presented with the notion that, with just 16 regular season games left, it actually wasn’t such a long season anymore. That didn’t sit well.

“Yes it is,” Ramirez responded. “There’s a lot of games left. Who knows?”

He’s right. Just ask Robbie Ross Jr.

On Sept. 24, 2012 his Rangers were five games up in the American League West, sitting with an American League-best 91 wins. Nine games, and just two victories, later, Texas found themselves playing a one-game Wild Card matchup against the Orioles.

On Oct. 5, 2012, Ross Jr.’s season ended when his team’s ace, Yu Darvish, was beaten by Baltimore’s Joe Saunders.

A year later, Ross Jr. and the Rangers lived the life of having an entire season rest on one game once again. This time it was in the form of Game No. 163, when Texas won its last seven games to earn the right to play Tampa Bay in a winner-take-all play-in to the playoffs.

Thanks in large part to David Price, the Rangers season once again ended with a one-game thud.

The moral of the story for these Red Sox: Don’t take the foot off the gas because you don’t want to take your chances with just nine innings standing between you and the golf course.

“When I was with Texas in 2012, it was like, ‘Oh crap, we have to face David Price now.’ You’re facing that ace,” Ross Jr. said. “You’ve got to be ready to roll. Winning that division early and knowing we have five games to go after it is a lot easier than knowing it’s one and done.”

Heading into Sunday night’s series finale with the Yankees, it would seem the Red Sox are in a pretty good spot. For the American League East, they are three games up on both Baltimore and Toronto, who are both three games ahead of Detroit, Houston and Seattle for the final Wild Card spot.

It would sure seem like some sort of postseason berth is in the cards for the Red Sox. But even if that’s the case, just playing beyond that final game against Toronto shouldn’t be the focus.

History scare the Red Sox into really, really not wanting to play that Wild Card game.

In 2013, the Indians fell one game short of equaling Central Division-winning Detroit. But instead of playing a best-of-five postseason series, Terry Francona’s club were forced to take on the Rays in the Wild Card tilt, which ultimately ended it’s season.

Or how about the Pirates?

Pittsburgh has been in the Wild Card game the last two seasons, missing out on the division lead by two games in both years. The payoff? In 2014, after winning 98 games, the Pirates got to face San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, and in 2015 the opponent was Jake Arietta of the Cubs. Neither ended well for the Bucs.

Lessons should be learned. The Red Sox will be best served not settling.

“Winning the division is huge,” Ross Jr. said. “But with this team if we win the division or a Wild Card spot I think we’ll be good because we have some tough guys. Mentally tough. It’s awesome.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s your one-run win.

On a day David Price was not the pitcher he had been of late, the Red Sox still found a way to bury the Yankees deeper in the standings. And all it took was Sandy Leon getting out the way of a wild pitch.

Xander Bogaerts watches his fifth-inning home run leave the park. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts watches his fifth-inning home run leave the park. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Here’s your one-run win.

On a day David Price was not the pitcher he had been of late, the Red Sox still found a way to bury the Yankees deeper in the standings. And all it took was Sandy Leon getting out the way of a wild pitch.

What it resulted in was a 6-5 win for the Red Sox Saturday afternoon over the Yanks, who now find themselves seven games in back of the first-place Sox. It was also a reversal of fortune for John Farrell’s team, which had seen five of its last six losses have come by one run (making the Red Sox 17-22 in such margins this season).

The victory also continued a recent trend of the Red Sox coming back late in the game, having struggled all season to rally. Entering Saturday, the Sox were just 8-44 when trailing after six innings. Now, make that nine wins.

After the Red Sox found themselves trailing by three runs heading into the fifth inning, the hosts’ offense started chipping away, scoring two in the fifth inning on Xander Bogaerts’ 20th homer of the season.

The Sox, who finished going just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, seemed to squander their best chance for a comeback in the sixth inning when Dustin Pedroia struck out looking with the bases loaded.

But in the seventh, they were able to seal the deal.

Bogaerts led off with a double and was advanced to third on David Ortiz’s long fly ball to center field. With the infield drawn in, Mookie Betts lined an RBI single over the head of shortstop Didi Gregorius to knot the game at 5-5.

After a Hanley Ramirez single, the Red Sox found themselves with runners on second and third with two outs thanks to a ground out to first base by Travis Shaw. That set the stage for Adam Warren’s wild pitch, that Leon was able to step away from just in time to allow the ball to carom toward the Sox’ on-deck circle.

While the errant pitch did let Betts race in with the eventual game-winner, an ill-advised race home by Ramirez — who tried to take advantage of nobody covering home plate for a moment — ended the threat.

The resurgence of the Red Sox’ offense took Price off the hook. The Red Sox starter, who had gone 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last six starts, struggled against the Yankees for a fourth time this season, giving up five runs on nine hits over six innings. Price now has a 7.71 ERA (20 earned runs, 23 1/3 innings) vs. New York in 2016.

The biggest blow against Price came in the third inning when Yankees phenom Gary Sanchez continued his historic major league debut, launching a three-run homer over the left field wall.

The good news for the Red Sox was that their bullpen continued to dominate, with the combination of Robbie Ross Jr., Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel pitching three hitless innings to finish things off. Kimbrel struck out all four batters he faced.

For a complete box score, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The 34 home runs. Not going on the disabled list all year. Simply having perhaps the best season ever by a retiring player. All impressive.