4-19-08 -- It’s been a familiar sight for the past half decade: Manny Ramirez and Big Papi carrying a rally.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer after slumping slugging partner David Ortiz tied the game with an RBI single in the eighth inning, lifting the Boston Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
“When you have to pitch to David, knowing Manny is coming up, that’s what keeps us in ballgames,” said Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who got the final three outs for his sixth save.
Since Ortiz joined the Red Sox in 2003, the pair have been the heart of Boston’s order, combining for 396 homers.
With the crowd still buzzing after the Bruins’ 5-4 win over Montreal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs was posted on the scoreboards, Dustin Pedroia doubled off the Green Monster against Joaquin Benoit (1-1) with one out in the eighth.
Ortiz followed with a hard single that bounced off the glove of diving second baseman Ian Kinsler and into short right field, scoring Pedroia. Ramirez then hit an 0-1 pitch over the Monster seats for his sixth of the season and 496th of his career.
“It’s a pretty swing, isn’t it?” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Pedroia thought he hit his own double well, but marveled at Ramirez’s homer.
“It just shows you how good Manny hit it,” Pedroia said. “He’s so strong.”
Both players left the clubhouse without talking to non-team affiliated media, but Ramirez was a guest on the club’s flagship radio station and said: “In that situation I’m not trying to do too much. I’m trying to get a good pitch to drive and he gave it to me.”
The Rangers were in decent position to win despite stranding 13 baserunners.
“He doesn’t give a darn where (the pitch is) at,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of Ramirez’s homer. “He did what he had to do and lifted it over the fence, and that wasn’t just Fenway’s wall that it went over because in any other park I think it was gone, too.”
Javier Lopez (1-0) escaped a two-on, two-out jam by getting Josh Hamilton— the only batter he faced—to line to center and earned the win.
The Rangers scored single runs in the first three innings off Boston starter Jon Lester before he settled down and pitched 6 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts as the Red Sox won for the seventh time in eight games.
The Rangers’ Jason Jennings, who failed to get past the fifth inning in each of his starts, gave up just two runs and three hits through six.
Hamilton homered into the seats above the Green Monster for his fourth of the season
“One little thing happens, the crowd gets into it and the Red Sox feed off their energy,” Hamilton said.
The Red Sox scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled and advanced to third on Pedroia’s sacrifice, with Pedroia reaching on Jennings’ throwing error. Ortiz, who entered hitting just .134, bounced into a double play that scored Ellsbury, and Kevin Youkilis then doubled home a run.
“If he doesn’t hit,” Ramirez said of Ortiz, “I’m going to hit for him.”
Adam Melhuse’s RBI single tied it at 2 in the second, and Texas grabbed the lead on Jason Botts’ run-scoring double after Hamilton and Hank Blalock singled.
The Red Sox had a moment of silence before the game for former catcher John Marzano, 45, who died earlier in the day. He played for the club from 1987-92. … Hamilton has hit safely in 15 of 18 games. … Boston manager Terry Francona said 3B Mike Lowell, on the 15-day DL since April 10 with a sprained left thumb, is about a week away. … Texas LF German Duran singled in his first at-bat for his first career hit. … Rangers OF Milton Bradley flied to the track in center for the final out, ending his 13-game hitting streak. … Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong received a loud ovation before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.