"THE FUTURE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE"
Hanley smashes the Sox to a
July 5, 2015 ... The
Houston Astros were trying to protect a one-run lead with one out and
a runner on in the seventh inning Sunday at Fenway Park when Hanley
Ramirez stepped to the plate.
just watched David Ortiz wring 11 pitches out of Tony Sipp to work a walk. With
the way Ramirez had been sawing baseballs in half the past two weeks, the odds
of Sipp feeding him a fastball were slim. Sipp tried testing the waters with his
first pitch, dangling a changeup low and away out of the strike zone, but
Ramirez didn't take the bait. Sipp tried the pitch again, this time more toward
the middle if still beneath the strike zone. Ramirez couldn't help but take a
swipe at it, but he came up empty. Sipp went to his fastball, but he didn't dare
put it in a place where Ramirez could do any damage, keeping it at the shins so
that all Ramirez could do was foul it off. With the count 1 and 2, Ramirez knew
what to expect. He kicked his leg high as Sipp went into his windup, and as he
saw yet another changeup diving low beneath the strike zone, all he could do was
throw the barrel of his bat at it. Somehow he still muscled it down the
left-field line. The ball kept sailing until it finally landed in the seats
above the Green Monster. It ended up being the difference in a 5-4 win that
helped the Red Sox take two of three from the AL-West leading Astros. Still on a
slow climb out of last place in the AL East, the Sox have won seven of their
past 10, improving their record to 39-45.
Rodriguez's duel with one of the other more intriguing young arms in baseball,
Lance McCullers, ended up being a draw. McCullers, who came in having struck out
58 batters in his first nine starts, only notched three in five innings, giving
up a career-high seven hits but holding the Sox to just one run on Ryan
Hanigan's RBI single in the second. Rodriguez piled up eight strikeouts and
worked around six hits, giving up just one run before leaving after five
the ball over to Alexi Ogando, who had his streak of 132/3 scoreless innings
coming into Sunday blown up in the seventh. The slider he'd been able to bank on
all season had a mind of its own. He threw it 16 times, missed with it six
times, and gave up two hits with it. The first was a one-out single by Jose
Altuve to shortstop, which seemed harmless at the time. That was until he left
another slider over the plate to Carlos Correa, who blasted it over the Monster
for a two-run homer that tied the game at three.
Gattis stepped to the plate the next at-bat, Ogando stayed away from his slider,
but it didn't matter. Gattis got a hold of a letter-high fastball and shot it
into the Monster seats to put the Astros ahead, 4-3.
Ramirez's homer was the bailout. He had 17 homers coming into the game,
including two since coming back from a left hand contusion last week. Six of
those homers had given the Sox the lead. But Sunday's shot was the first time he
hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh or later all year.
banged out 32 hits and 19 runs in order to take two of three from one of the
more potent lineups in baseball, and Farrell saw it as a sign that his lineup
was finally starting to hit its stride. The top of the order continued to spark
things, with Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, and Xander Bogaerts all getting in the
hit column, and Pablo Sandoval propped up the middle of the order with a
three-hit day. Catcher Hanigan gave the Sox three hits in the nine-hole.