Boston Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez sported a mere eight home runs in 2016 coming into Wednesday's game at Fenway Park against the San Francisco Giants, but he looked like a 50-homer presence in the lineup during his team's 11-7 victory.
Ramirez drilled three home runs as part of Boston's offensive explosion and finished with six RBI in five plate appearances. His outburst was a timely one considering the Red Sox pitching staff allowed seven runs and failed to put the Giants away for much of the game despite the early offensive support.
|Hanley Ramirez's Wednesday Performance|
|First||Second||Two-run home run|
|Second||Third||Two-run home run|
|Third||Fourth||Hit by pitch|
|Fourth||Sixth||Two-run home run|
Ramirez's first home run started the scoring in the hitting slugfest. He drove Matt Cain's offering the other way and sent Mac Williamson tumbling over the wall in an effort to rob the first baseman:
Ramirez was far from done. He connected on another Cain pitch in his second at-bat and put Boston ahead 5-0 with another two-run dinger in the third. It was a moonshot that cleared the tall fence in left-center field and appeared to give the Red Sox comfortable breathing room in the early going:
While the Giants battled back with seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings after falling behind 8-0, Ramirez helped the Red Sox answer with his third home run of the game in the sixth. The two-run homer also scored David Ortiz and gave Boston a 10-7 advantage, which the team shared on Twitter:
On his third home run, Ramirez confirmed he was swinging for the fences, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com: "Yep, I got lucky on that one. Yep, I was trying to hit a homer. I was trying to go to the moon."
He also may have been motivated even more after getting hit in an earlier at-bat, as he said after the game, via Smith: "Every time I get hit that fires me up. It makes a better player. ... Sometimes, it's not Hanley. It's somebody else."
Fox Sports: MLB and ESPN Stats & Info put Ramirez's effort into historical perspective:
David Schoenfield of ESPN.com called it Ramirez's "best game of his life," and Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald noted the Fenway Park crowd didn't seem to care that the first baseman didn't manage a fourth homer in his final plate appearance:
Ramirez talked about his final at-bat and the possibility of hitting four homers, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal: "Everybody was telling me, 'You've got to for it.' I said, 'I don't hit homers when I try to hit homers.' (They said), 'It don't matter. You've got three already. Swing as hard as you can.'"
While Ramirez hadn't boasted much power this season before Wednesday, he does have an impressive resume when it comes to hitting the ball out of the park. His three homers give him 11 on the campaign, which marks his 11th straight season with double-digit home run totals. He connected on 19 in 2015 in his first year with the Red Sox and has six different seasons with 20 or more long balls.
The three-time All-Star and 2006 National League Rookie of the Year posted 33 home runs in 2008 and has the potential to be a masher in the middle of Boston's lineup heading into the stretch run if Wednesday's showing is any indication.
First-place Boston already leads all of baseball in runs scored and will be even more dangerous if Ramirez parlays his three-homer game into a power surge over the final two-plus months of the schedule.