Hanley Ramirez now has five home runs in the seven games he's DH'd this year. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez makes most of serving as designated hitter with game-winning home run

Ryan Hannable
July 05, 2015 - 3:11 pm

The odds may have been stacked against Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning -- down 1-2 in the count and in midst of an 0-for-9 slump facing Astros reliever Tony Sipp with a runner on first and the Red Sox trailing 4-3. But, with one hand, he lined a changeup that just cleared the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead and proved to be the game-winner, as the Red Sox earned a series win over the Astros. "I saw a couple changeups and I just figured he was going to throw another one," Ramirez said. "I tried to wait on it but like I said I put a good follow through." "I think it just tells you how strong he is," manager John Farrell added. "Once he gets the barrel of the bat, even the first at-bat in this series, he drives the ball out of the ballpark on Friday night. Still, when he's able to make solid contact, he's got the ability to drive the ball out of any park. But even if he is fooled, because his plate coverage is so good, he's able to give us a lead and a big one at that." Ramirez is now batting .367 in 44 career games against the Astros, the highest active mark against the franchise (minimum 150 plate appearances). Six of Ramirez's 18 homers this season have given the Red Sox the lead in the game at the time. What may go unnoticed is in the at-bat prior to the home run, David Ortiz forced Sipp to throw 11 pitches, before he was able to work a walk. Ramirez said that played a role in his homer. "That's everything right there," he said. "He put up a good at-bat and got on first so it's up to me now." With Mike Napoli struggling, Ortiz played first base in a non-interleague game for the first time since August 5, 2006. With that, Ramirez served as the designated hitter, a position he's thrived in this season. Over the seven games he's DH'd this season, he's batting .333 with five home runs and 10 RBIs. Even though he's been successful in that role, don't expect it to happen more often. "There are guys that sometimes have a difficulty not being in on the defensive side of the game and yet being able to focus and prepare for the at-bats," Farrell said. "But clearly Hanley has done that very well, the days that he has been DH for us. So again, I don't see many at-bats at the DH slot going forward for him."