March 22, 2015
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston left fielder Hanley Ramirez blasted a three-run homer as part of a five-RBI afternoon in a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Ramirez collected more RBI on Sunday than in his first 10 spring training games combined. He entered the game hitting .208 and with just three RBI.
As opening day draws nearer, Ramirez's timing is becoming better. "Always working on stuff," Ramirez said. "We're not trying to make the team. Just trying to get ready for the season."
Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn't concerned about the veteran, who has a .300 career batting average.
"I think with each at-bat accumulated you're seeing better timing," Farrell said. "The first handful of games there was a willingness on his part to try to stay inside the ball and track pitches deep into the strike zone where you saw some ground balls to second base and fly balls to right."
In his first year with the Red Sox since he was traded to the Marlins in 2005, Ramirez is confident Boston can rebound from its last-place AL East finish last season. "I feel we can do some damage," Ramirez said.
Red Sox centerfielder Mookie Betts continued his hot spring with a double and inside-the-park homer, upping his average to .471. The inside-the-park home run came in the third inning, when Betts sent a drive to deep center over the head of Philadelphia center fielder Odubel Herrera, who bobbled the carom off the wall.
"He reminds me of myself in '06 in Miami," Ramirez said of Betts. Ramirez followed three batters later with his first homer of the spring, a three-run shot to center that put the Red Sox up 5-0.
For the Phillies, catcher Chad Rupp was 2 for 3 with two doubles and is now hitting .412.
"For me he's a guy when he makes contact some good things can happen because he's so strong," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
The Red Sox squared off in an obstacle course challenge before the game — with a long bus ride to Jupiter on the line.
"The loser goes," Farrell said.
DH David Ortiz was the referee, complete with a whistle.
"You can only throw one ball at a time at the judge," strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora jokingly told players. "Remember, it's a friendly competition."
The competition's tasks including sprinting a short distance with a 40-pound sandbag, box jumps, picking up and moving medicine balls and stepping through ladders placed on the ground.
Betts ran the anchor leg for his team. When he crossed the finish line first, he was mobbed by happy teammates — Ortiz, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Christian Vazquez among them — would not have to make the 138-mile ride.
Those getting on the bus were Dustin Pedroia, Ramirez and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Ramirez accepted the loss: "That was the deal."
Phillies: Jerome Williams allowed four earned runs on 10 hits in three innings. Sandberg said Williams got ahead of some hitters, but ran into trouble.
"He wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be," Sandberg said.
Red Sox: Steven Wright pitched four shutout innings and allowed only two hits, improving to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.80. Clay Buchholz pitched five shutout, hitless innings in a minor-league game and struck out 10.
Phillies: LHP Mario Holland has a strained common flexor tendon in his elbow.
Red Sox: Ortiz, who has been dealing with dehydration and a cold, did not play Sunday and is not scheduled to play Monday. Farrell expects him to play Thursday. RHP Koji Uehrara, who has been sidelined with a strained hamstring, could pitch by the middle or later part of the week.
Phillies: RHP David Buchanan will pitch Monday against the Minnesota Twins' RHP Ervin Santana in Clearwater.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello will start in Monday's home game against the Cardinals. RHP Lance Lynn is slated to start for St. Louis.