BOSTON (CBS) — The New York Yankees entered Fenway Park last week alive and well in the American League playoff race. Those playoff hopes are on life support after a four-game sweep, thanks to the powerful bat of Hanley Ramirez.
Just like another Ramirez who had a knack for getting the best of the Yankees during his time in Boston, Hanley became a “Yankee Slayer” with an incredible four games against Boston’s biggest rival. His dominance started with a walk-off, three-run homer on Thursday night, and ended with a two-homer performance on Sunday night when he slid into the DH spot for a resting David Ortiz.
Ramirez absolutely crushed both homers on Sunday night. The first was a three-run shot that left his bat at light speed, which followed a throwing error by Yankees starter CC Sabathia that would have ended the inning. Ramirez was determined to make him pay for that miscue, and he did so by making him pay for a slider that caught too much of the plate, clanging off the light post in left field a split second after it left his bat.
That blast cut New York’s 4-0 lead to 4-3. Hanley’s second broke up a 4-4 tie in the seventh, a solo shot that went over everything in left.
In the series, Ramirez went 9-for-16 at the plate with four home runs, driving in nine of Boston’s 25 runs. It was Boston’s first four-game sweep of the Yankees since 1990.
“Good series, good series,” Ramirez told reporters after Sunday’s win. “After the first game, everybody just was motivated and came back the second day with a lot of energy. That’s what we need. Everything’s coming together. When we need a big play, it’s come. When we need a big rally, we’ve been doing it. Everything’s coming together at the right time.”
And Hanley is getting scorching hot at the right time. The slugger is hitting .381 with a 1.276 OPS in the month of September, sending nine of his 24 hits out of the ballpark.
“The run that Hanley’s on right now, yeah, you can probably attach any word you want to how impressive he is right now,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters. “He’s balanced, he’s powerful, the bat speed — all of the above. He’s a major force right now.”
For the season, Ramirez has already matched his career-high for RBIs with 106, which he did back in 2009 when he was the NL-MVP runner-up with the Marlins. He’ll look to add to that total, and keep his power surge going, Monday night when the Red Sox open a four-game set against the Orioles in Baltimore.