BOSTON (AP) — Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to finish off a five-run rally as the Boston Red Sox came back to beat the New York Yankees 7-5 on Thursday night and open a two-game lead in the AL East.
New York took a four-run lead after three innings and still led 5-1 before David Ortiz hit a solo shot in the eighth. It was the 537th home run of his career, passing Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for 17th on baseball’s all-time list.
Ortiz also had an RBI single off Dellin Betances (3-6) in the ninth.
There were still two on and two outs when Ramirez worked a 3-1 count and then sent the next pitch to straightaway center field. The victory in the opener of a four-game series against its archrival snapped Boston’s two-game skid.
Starlin Castro had four hits and new addition Billy Butler drove in a pair of runs in his debut for the Yankees, who have lost four of five.
Joe Kelly (3-0) pitched into and out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the ninth, striking out Chase Headley and then getting Mason Williams on a line drive back to the mound.
The Red Sox moved two games ahead of Baltimore, which lost 7-6 to Tampa Bay. Instead of improving to three games back in the division, the Yankees face a five-game deficit.
Ortiz had three RBIs and three hits — two for extra bases to give him 1,186 in his career. That tied Ortiz with Frank Robinson for 11th on the all-time list for extra-base hits.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to avoid using Betances in the ninth, starting with Tommy Layne for one out and then turning to Blake Parker, who nipped pinch-hitter Chris Young on the top of the helmet with a pitch.
Betances, the loser in Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers, walked Dustin Pedroia but got the second out when Young tried to score from third on a short grounder and was cut down at home.
With the crowd chanting “Papi! Papi!”, Ortiz singled to make it 5-3. Mookie Betts singled to make it 5-4, and Gary Sanchez’s passed ball put runners on second and third before Ramirez ended it.
It was the sixth game-ending hit of Ramirez’s career and his first for Boston, earning him an ice-water drenching in front of the dugout as the crowd celebrated. It was the first walk-off homer for the Red Sox since Mike Napoli in 2014.
Yankees: Butler was signed two days after rookie RF Aaron Judge hurt himself taking a swing. He has been put on the 15-day disabled list. Also, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was transferred to the 60-day DL to make roster room for Butler.
Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said he expected Ortiz to start each of the remaining 17 games this season. Ortiz has played in 134 of the first 146 games — starting 125 — taking time off along the way to stay healthy at 40 years old. He has not played in 151 games since 2006, and has topped it only once in his career.
Yankees: RHP Luis Cessa (4-1) will start Friday night in Boston.
Red Sox: Boston goes with righty Clay Buchholz (6-10).
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