Red Sox 4, Twins 3
BOSTON (AP)—Two games after Manny Ramirez was booed by the hometown fans, all was forgiven.
After the game, the enigmatic outfielder shrugged off the trade talk that kept him on the bench for most of two days leading up to Sunday’s trade deadline.
“Forget about the trade. This is the place I want to be,” Ramirez said. “They want to win. I want to win, too. I’m back.”
Entering the game 54 minutes after the 4 p.m. deadline passed for trades without waivers, Ramirez bounced a chopper up the middle to score Edgar Renteria and give the Red Sox their fifth consecutive victory. After Renteria crossed the plate, Ramirez took off his batting helmet and pointed both hands at the crowd in a double-barreled salute.
“That’s hard not to get chills when that stuff is happening,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That’s about as electric as you’ll see it.”
Juan Rincon (4-4) allowed one run on two hits and a walk.
Although he is one of the most productive batters in baseball history, Ramirez has been on the trading block every year as the Red Sox try to unload the remainder of his $160 million, eight-year contract. As the trade deadline approached, the Red Sox discussed a three-team trade with Tampa Bay that would have sent him to the New York Mets, and Francona offered Ramirez the weekend off to clear his head.
But Ramirez told reporters before the game that he wanted to stay. And, when Renteria doubled off the Green Monster with two outs in the eighth, the Twins opted to intentionally walk David Ortiz to face Adam Stern. Before the four pitches could be thrown, the crowd began chanting for Ramirez.
On ball three, Ramirez popped out of the dugout for the on-deck circle, and the sellout crowd rose to its feet. For some fans, it was the first knowledge they had that he wasn’t traded.
The announcement that he would pinch hit could barely be heard, and when Ramirez singled to put Boston ahead 4-3, the noise in the ballpark got even louder.
John Olerud’s hamstring injury paved the way for Ramirez’s dramatic entrance. Olerud, who was batting in Ramirez’s customary cleanup slot, left the game in the seventh inning when he “tweaked” a hamstring on the basepaths, according Francona.
When the Twins walked Ortiz, “it was the perfect spot” for Ramirez to enter the game, Francona said.
“Obviously, he was ready to go,” Francona said.
Minnesota lost its fourth consecutive game and got swept for the third time this season; the Twins were swept just twice all last year.
Brad Radke held Boston to six hits over seven innings but didn’t get a decision; he has won just once since June 1.
“It was frustrating,” Radke said. “We had our shots and it didn’t happen. We should have walked out of here with a win today.”
Red Sox starter Jon Papelbon didn’t get a win in his major league debut, but he also pleased the crowd, earning a standing ovation when he struck out two batters in first.
The 24-year-old right-hander gave up three runs—two earned—in 5 1-3 innings, striking out seven and walking five. He walked the bases loaded in the fifth before Terry Tiffee hit a line drive to the right-field warning track that was caught, then he gave up Jacque Jones’ leadoff homer in the sixth.
Papelbon struck out Justin Morneau before Lew Ford singled and Michael Ryan walked. That was it for Papelbon, who received a standing ovation from the crowd and the congratulations of his teammates as he left the mound.
Papelbon said he felt goose bumps down his neck when Ramirez drove home the game-winning run.
“To be honest with you, I bet you everybody on the bench did,” Papelbon said.
Manny Delcarmen, making just his second major league appearance, took over for Papelbon and struck out Nick Punto. But after making a diving stop on Shannon Stewart’s hard grounder, third baseman Bill Mueller tried to get the runner at second and threw the ball into right field as Ford scored to make it 3-2.
Boston tied it in the seventh on Kevin Millar’s sacrifice fly.
Morneau homered in the fourth to make it 1-0, but Boston went ahead on back-to-back solo homers by Ortiz and Olerud in the bottom half. Jones led off the sixth with a homer into the Red Sox bullpen to make it 2-2.
Francona said Olerud’s hamstring injury will be re-evaluated on Monday, an off day for the Red Sox. … The Red Sox purchased Papelbon’s contract from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in four starts since he was promoted from Double-A Portland. He was called up Sunday after Wade Miller missed his turn in the rotation with right biceps tendinitis. Boston optioned LHP Lenny DiNardo to Pawtucket to make room for Papelbon. … The Red Sox pitching staff has hit 56 batters, the most in the majors. … Boston RF Gabe Kapler saved a run with an over-the-shoulder catch on Ford’s liner in the seventh.