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August 6, 2007
Manny Ramirez hurt the Red Sox with his awful base-running play on Friday, but he played the hustler on Saturday night, dashing from first to score on Jason Varitek's RBI double to left field off Jarrod Washburn. In a game that went down to the final out, the Ramirez effort was key.
That play, followed by Sunday's home run, provided a dandy ending to a weekend trip that did not begin well for Ramirez. Playing in the same stadium where Ramirez famously shut it down in 2006, Ramirez did his part to run the Red Sox out of a first-inning rally on Friday night, charging around second and going to third on a hit by Mike Lowell -- only problem, Kevin Youkilis had merely made a turn around third; he wasn't heading home. Youk did a good job of extending the play so that Lowell could go from first to second before Ramirez was tagged out. As it turned out, the gaffe probably was not costly, because Jason Varitek followed with a hard groundout that almost certainly would have been an inning-ending double play had Lowell still been standing at first. Later on Friday, Ramirez grounded into a double play to help kill a promising fifth inning, and struck out for the final out in the seventh with a man on.
Ramirez, who also grounded into a twin-killing on Sunday, is tied with Toronto's Aaron Hill for most grounded into double plays in the American League (both men have 17). The major-league leader is Orlando Hudson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who has grounded into 20 double plays.
After yesterday's home run off Miguel Batista, Ramirez is within 11 of reaching 500 for his career. As The Globe reports today, Ramirez (who started the season with 470 homers) has a pretty fair shot at reaching the milestone this year, based on his historic performances. Ramirez has hit 11 or more home runs from Aug. 5 on in five of the last seven seasons. Ramirez's season-long home run pace would leave him short of the mark, but his post-All Star game pace would put him over the hump before October comes around.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:46 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny