BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez hit a monstrous two-out, three-run homer to center field to cap a wild five-run ninth-inning rally that gave the Boston Red Sox a 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.
Ramirez connected off Dellin Betances, who had just surrendered run-scoring singles to David Ortiz and Mookie Betts. Earlier this season, Betances (3-6) gave up home runs in two games of a three-game series in Boston.
It was the sixth walk-off hit of Ramirez’s career, his first with Boston. He has 25 homers and 100 RBIs for the season. He hit a game-ending homer for the second time in the majors.
The win moved the first-place Red Sox (82-64) two games ahead of the losing Baltimore Orioles in the American League East, while the loss dealt a serious blow to the surging Yankees’ late-season charge. New York (77-69) was one out from being just three games out of first place but fell to five back. It also hurt the Yankees’ wild-card chances.
The late collapse cost Masahiro Tanaka what would have been his seventh win in eight starts. He worked seven strong innings, allowing one run.
Adam Warren relieved in the eighth and gave up the solo homer to Ortiz — his 34th home run of the year and 537th of his career, snapping a tie with Yankees great Mickey Mantle for 17th place on the all-time list. Ortiz drove in three runs and has 114 RBIs in his farewell season.
Warren struck Sandy Leon out with two on later in the eighth.
Left-hander Tommy Layne, released by Boston last month, struck out the only batter he faced to open the night. Blake Parker hit the only man he saw, and Betances came on and failed for fifth time in his past 16 save chances.
Starlin Castro had four hits and two RBIs, Didi Gregorius stroked a pair of doubles and stole third base, and Chase Headley had two singles, an RBI and a stolen base. However, the Yankees wasted enough chances to keep the game close.
The Yankees made short work of left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who lasted 2 1/3 innings in his 10th straight start without a win.
Joe Kelly (3-0) got the win with a scoreless inning in relief.
The Yankees, who had scored one run against Rodriguez in each of his two starts against them this season, scored twice in the first. With one out Jacoby Ellsbury singled and took third on Gary Sanchez’s long ground-rule double that would have scored a run had it not bounced into the stands. Castro singled home one run and Butler hit a sacrifice fly.
In the third, Castro ripped a one-out doubled and scored on Butler’s single. Gregorius doubled and Chase Headley singled home a run.
That was all for Rodriguez and reliever Heath Hembree stranded two runners in scoring position. But he too gave up a run in the fourth, with the help of a passed ball by Leon. Castro’s single off the pitcher scored the run.
The Red Sox had scored in the third but could have had more. Tanaka issued an uncharacteristic two walks around a Dustin Pedroia single and Ortiz got a run home with his sacrifice fly before Mookie Betts fouled to catcher Sanchez.
NOTES: San Diego GM A.J. Preller was suspended for 30 days by major league baseball for allegedly hiding medical information on Drew Pomeranz before trading him to Boston. … DH Billy Butler, just signed by the Yankees and arriving at Fenway Park 90 minutes before game time, went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. New York moved RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster. … Friday was Roberto Clemente Night at Fenway Park. … LF Andrew Benintendi, out since Aug. 24 with a sprained left knee, returned for Boston and batted ninth. … The Yankees announced they will honor the retiring David Ortiz prior to the Sept. 29 game against the Red Sox in the Bronx. … Veteran RHP Clay Buchholz, 5-9 with a 6.19 ERA lifetime against the Yankees, faces rookie RHP Luis Cessa on Friday in the second game of the series.