BOSTON (AP) — It wasn’t as timely as the one the night before, but don’t ask Hanley Ramirez which home run was better.
“Both of them,” the Red Sox first baseman said with a laugh after he homered for the second straight game — and for the second straight game helped Boston beat the rival New York Yankees.
One night after hitting a three-run shot as the Red Sox rallied in the series opener, Ramirez added a solo drive to help Boston win 7-4 on Friday night and protect its two-game lead in the AL East.
David Ortiz had a pair of hits, including a double that was the 1,187th extra-base hit of his career. That moved him out of a tie with Frank Robinson and into 11th on baseball’s all-time list; Lou Gehrig is next with 1,190.
Ramirez’s homer was his ninth in 16 games.
“The middle of the order has been powerful, and it has been consistent,” manager John Farrell said of Nos. 3-4-5 hitters Ortiz, Mookie Betts and Ramirez, who had two hits apiece. “(Ramirez) has been on a good run for nearly a month now.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. also homered for Boston, which maintained a two-game lead over Baltimore and Toronto.
The Yankees, who on Thursday night were one out from climbing within three games of the division lead, fell six games back. They are four behind co-leaders Baltimore and Toronto in the wild-card race.
“Obviously, we would have liked to win a couple games here, but there’s still some time,” third baseman Chase Headley said. “It’s reachable. We’ve just got to go get on another streak and start winning some games.”
Clay Buchholz (7-10) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out two in six innings.
Luis Cessa (4-2) gave up three runs and six hits, striking out one in five innings. In his second game since signing with the Yankees, Billy Butler hit a two-run homer in the ninth to make it 7-4, but Craig Kimbrel got two outs for his 26th save.
Ortiz singled in the first and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He did double off the center-field wall in the sixth, giving him a major league-leading 47 for the season and moving him two doubles behind Ted Williams for second place in franchise history.
Cessa allowed the first five batters to reach, but two of them were thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles. Betts was also called for the potential inning-ending out stealing second, but the replay review showed he was safe.
Boston still came away with two runs in the first against Cessa.
“He kind of got through the first inning with good defense,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
BUCH STOPS HERE
Buchholz bounced back from his shortest start of the season with six solid innings and his second consecutive win. The Red Sox righty, who has bounced back and forth from the bullpen, pitched out of jams in the second and third but gave up a pair of runs in the fifth.
“He created a couple of jams for himself,” Farrell said. “He’d bend a little bit but still stay away from the big inning.”
Buchholz entered the night with a 5-9 career record and a 6.19 ERA against the Yankees.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira (neck) was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games.
Red Sox: Farrell said knuckleballer Steven Wright has made progress with his right shoulder that he injured diving back to a base pinch running in early August. “He’s not feeling anything right now,” Farrell said. The next step is for Wright to throw in Fort Myers, Florida, when the team heads out on a road trip.
Yankees: RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 6.14 ERA) makes his sixth career start Saturday afternoon.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (16-8, 3.81) looks to extend his career-best winning streak to eight games. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in his last six starts.