Hanley Ramirez (right) is greeted at home by David Ortiz after slamming a two-run homer on Saturday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez lift Red Sox past Yankees

John Tomase
July 11, 2015 - 6:27 pm
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Now that's how you bounce back. Fresh off their most deflating loss of the season on Friday night, when they also lost ace Clay Buchholz to an elbow injury, the Red Sox didn't fold against the Yankees on Saturday night. They instead gritted out a 5-3 victory behind another solid outing from rookie Eduardo Rodriguez and a timely two-run homer from slugger Hanley Ramirez. It was exactly what the Red Sox needed after Buchholz's injury left them momentarily unable to catch their breath, and it gives them a chance to win the series on Sunday when left-hander Wade Miley opposes Nathan Eovaldi. "It was a big win," said manager John Farrell. "We walk into that dugout knowing where full well where we are when we look out to left field. And knowing that we have to continue to improve within our division, particularly against New York, tonight was a key win for us with a chance to win the series tomorrow." This one didn't get off to a great start, with Yankees villain Alex Rodriguez blasting a solo homer in the first for the second straight night. But instead of imploding, Rodriguez bore down en route to 6 1/3 solid innings. He allowed five hits and two runs, walking one and striking out two. "One of the things that really stood out, a couple times he gives up solo home runs and he executes a first-pitch strike to the next hitter," Farrell said. "He didn'€™t fear the strike zone. He attacked the strike zone with quality stuff. A lot of stuff and for the most part was in command of the count." Working mainly off his fastball -- all but 16 of his pitches were heaters -- Rodriguez kept the Yankees off balance, helped by a nice diving catch from Alejandro De Aza in right field. "I just tried to do the best I could do, tried to control my pitches, around the strike zone with my fastball and the changeup, and make big pitches and try to get ground balls, strikeouts and fly balls," Rodriguez said. Speaking of De Aza, he drew the Red Sox even in the third by manufacturing a run. De Aza singled, stole second, advanced to third when the throw got away, and scored on a Ryan Hanigan groundout. Ramirez untied the game in the fourth after a David Ortiz single by ripping an Ivan Nova offering into the bullpen for his 19th homer of the year. "The biggest thing tonight was the first time in a while he'€™s driven the ball the other way like he did," Farrell said. The Yankees drew within a run on a Jacoby Ellsbury solo homer in the sixth, but they got no closer, thanks to a couple of insurance runs in the seventh. With the victory, the Red Sox improved to 42-46, five and a half games behind the Yankees in the AL East. "Tomorrow's a huge game going into the All-Star break," said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. "I know everyone in this clubhouse is going to come in and give it their all, for sure. . . . Hopefully we all just join together and take off in the second half." PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Red Sox gave Hanley Ramirez $88 million to be a difference-maker at the plate, and he filled the role perfectly by ripping the game-winning two-run homer the other way. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Rodriguez allowed no more than two runs for the seventh time in nine career starts, silencing the Yankees without overpowering them. -- David Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, and was also robbed of a hit by a leaping Brett Gardner against the left field wall. -- Right fielder Alejandro De Aza continues to contribute. In addition to his diving catch, he went 2-for-4 with a steal and two runs. -- The Red Sox picked off former teammate Jacoby Ellsbury in the third, with Mike Napoli applying the diving tag. -- Leadoff man Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a triple that drove in an insurance run in the seventh. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with a strikeout to drop his average to .192, and also grounded into a double play with runners on the corners to end the second.