Emerging from a monthlong slump, Ramirez homered and drove in five runs Saturday to lead the streaking Red Sox over the Chicago White Sox 10-7 for their fifth straight victory.
Boston battered White Sox pitching for the second day in a row and moved a season-high 17 games over .500 with its 11th win in 14 games.
Until now, the surge came without Ramirez’s usual production. The All-Star slugger arrived in Chicago batting just .224 with four homers and 10 RBIs since the All-Star break. But a three-hit game left him 5-for-7 with two homers and nine RBIs in the first two games of the series.
“Manny had a quiet spell and it looks like he’s heating up,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Jason Varitek hit two solo homers and a double, pushing his average to .301. He also scored three runs.
After playing .500 ball for three months and enduring the turmoil of trading Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox are 13-6 in August. They have won three straight road series for the first time this season.
“We just show up every day and play good baseball,” Francona said. “Fundamentally, we’re a pretty good team. We’re getting contributions throughout the order.”
Ramirez downplayed his hitting but said things are coming together for the Red Sox.
“We just go out and have fun,” he said. “Everybody’s swinging and pitching well right now.”
The slumping White Sox (60-60) fell to .500 for the first time since April 11. They lost for the fourth time in five games, all at home, and trail first-place Minnesota by seven games in the AL Central.
“They battled back,” said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team fell behind 7-2 by the third inning. “But my starting pitching is really struggling right now.”
Bronson Arroyo (6-9) got the win despite giving up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Mike Timlin and Terry Adams each allowed a run before Keith Foulke struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 21st save in 26 chances.
“I felt bad from the get-go,” Arroyo said. “It was just one of those days. Luckily the guys scored a ton of runs.”
A day after his grand slam sent Boston on the way to a 10-1 win, Ramirez gave the Red Sox the lead for good in the first inning with a three-run shot. Rookie left-hander Josh Stewart (0-1) yielded singles to the first two batters, Johnny Damon and Orlando Cabrera, before Ramirez drove the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers.
Ramirez’s 379th homer tied him with Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 50th place on the career list.
Paul Konerko’s two-run homer in the bottom of the first made it 3-2. But the Red Sox added two runs in the second on RBI singles by Damon and Ramirez, and two more in the third on back-to-back doubles by Varitek and Kevin Millar and a sacrifice fly by Gabe Kapler.
Boston added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh on two homers to center by Varitek sandwiched around Ramirez’s RBI single. Chicago got runs in the seventh and eighth on Gload’s RBI double and a solo shot by Joe Crede.
Stewart gave up eight hits and seven runs in only 3 1-3 innings in the latest failed attempt by Chicago to find a reliable No. 5 starter. In 19 games, White Sox fifth starters are 3-14 with an ERA above 10.00.
“I felt pretty good,” Stewart said. “But the bad pitches I threw, they made me pay for them. That’s the sign of a veteran team.”
Plate umpire Doug Eddings ejected Carl Everett for arguing after he struck out against Timlin with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning. Everett had disputed the previous pitch.
Cabrera, overcoming a slow start with Boston since replacing Garciaparra at shortstop, has 10 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.400). … Konerko’s homer was his 30th, the second time he has reached that mark. … It was Esteban Loaiza bobblehead day, a promotion the White Sox scheduled before trading their two-time All-Star pitcher to the Yankees on July 31 for Jose Contreras.