Hanley Ramirez may have taken a pretty nasty knock in Thursday's loss to the Yankees, but rest assured, he's just fine. Just ask Patrick Corbin, who saw him crush not one, but two three-run blasts en route to a 9-4 win in the series opener.
Lord, but the top of the first certainly gave no hint of the good things to come for the Red Sox Friday night. The first two pitches alone were quite the story by themselves, with Jackie Bradley Jr. front and center. The first was mashed to center by Jean Segura, where Bradley basically fell over himself trying to make the catch, allowing what was generously scored as a triple. The second was flared relatively weakly to shallow center, where Bradley raced in, leaned down to snap it up right before it touched down, and fired home. Segura, seemingly caught by surprise, tried to retreat to third, and was thrown out. In other words, two pitches, two outs for David Price. Sort of.
The rest of the inning was just as eventful, but not nearly so forgiving. Another flare would see Paul Goldschmidt to first, and when a David Price changeup stayed right on over the plate to Rickie Weeks Jr., and the result was a two-run shot into the Monster seats to leave the Sox in an early hole.
Thankfully, neither the Diamondbacks nor the Red Sox would let the game stay stressful for Boston fans for long. The second unforced error of the night from Jean Segura would allow Dustin Pedroia to reach base to lead off the inning, with David Ortiz singling him on to third base with two outs. That brought up Hanley with two on, and if you read the opening bit, you know what's coming here. A fastball right down the pipe was easy pickings for Ramirez, who planted a rocket shot high off the AAA sign over the Monster seats to make it 3-2. Behind him, a second error and a pair of singles would let Bradley reach and score to give the Sox their fourth run of the first.
With the top of the order coming up again to start the second, the Red Sox went about performing an encore. Dustin Pedroia again reached base without getting the ball out of the infield, and this time advanced before an out was recorded on a base hit from Xander Bogaerts. David Ortiz would be the one to drive in the first run here with a solid knock into right field, bringing Ramirez up again with two on, one down, and a 5-2 lead. Apparently not satisfied that middle-middle is not the way to pitch Ramirez, Corbin tried again, just a little higher this time, and paid for it with a lofty shot to dead center to make it 8-2.
David Price, for his part, did not have nearly so much trouble going forward. Despite getting off to the rough start against one of the game's most dangerous lineups against southpaws, Price settled in nicely starting with a 1-2-3 second. The Diamondbacks would largely be limited to singles over the rest of his eight innings, with eight strikeouts doing a good job of keeping those baserunners from working their way around to score.
Unfortunately, any attmpets to consider this a positive outing for Price will be completely ruined by the fact that he gave up two hits including a solo shot to a guy named Tuffy. Some failures can simply not be excused.
Extraordinary shame aside, the Red Sox were able to cruise on the back of that early explosion from Ramirez, with David Ortiz tacking on a ninth run on his 26th homer of the year, and 1,000th extra base hit with the Red Sox to nullify a ninth-inning run against Fernando Abad. Not a bad add-on for a won game.
As ever, the Sox need more than just individual wins. But at least, as with the Yankees, they now get two shots to finally win another series.
Even if one does come with Clay Buchholz on the mound.