Stayin' Alive

Manny Ramirez cared - that his drive to center field became a single instead of a home run.

A day after he created a ruckus with remarks that winning the AL championship series didn't mean everything, Boston's laid-back cleanup hitter put up an argument with umpires - an unsuccessful one.

Ramirez wound up with a 390-foot single instead of a two-run homer, but it turned out to be not so big a deal. The Red Sox beat Cleveland 7-1 Thursday night, closing to 3-2 and sending the best-of-seven series back to Boston for Game 6 on Saturday night.

Some fans in Fenway Park might boo him for his casual comments in a rare clubhouse interview on Wednesday's workout day - and for his failure to run hard out of the batter's box on his drive in Game 5.

``It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world,'' he said then.

More likely, the Red Sox faithful will cheer his outstanding postseason play - a .471 batting average with two homers and eight RBIs.

``We've got nothing to lose,'' Ramirez said after Thursday's win. ``No pressure man. Like I say, we play hard. We try to leave everything on the field.''

More than two hours before the game, manager Terry Francona brushed off the words of the seemingly pressure-proof Ramirez.

``I have a pretty good feeling that it's Manny saying, `Hey, we're fine,''' Francona said, ``because a guy that shows up after getting in at 5 o'clock in the morning to hit, those actions are what I care about.''

Francona said Ramirez's words ``won't have any difference in the outcome.''

On Wednesday, Ramirez raised his arms like a boxer who delivered the knockout blow when he homered to cut Boston's deficit to four runs. On Thursday, he started jogging to first base in the third inning when he sent C.C. Sabathia's pitch toward the center-field wall.

Grady Sizemore leaped, and the ball appeared to hit the yellow line on top of the 9-foot high wall - or perhaps before bouncing back onto the field. Right-field umpire Paul Emmel never gave the home run signal, and replays were inconclusive. Ground rules at Jacobs Field state a ball must completely clear the yellow line at the top of the wall to be a homer.

``I thought it was out,'' Ramirez said, ``but what can I say?''

David Ortiz, who had walked, scored easily on the play for a 2-1 lead. Ramirez gestured in disagreement with the umpires' decision. He was joined by Francona and first-base coach Luis Alicea.

``We had privy to seeing the replay right away and we knew before they made their decision that the ball was a homer, but after that we had to lower our blood pressure and play the game,'' Boston's Jason Varitek said.

The call stood and Sabathia stranded Ramirez by striking out Mike Lowell.

``I just want him to run when he hits one 380 feet so I can get the RBI,'' Lowell said. ``As long as he keeps hitting the way he has, he can stand on his head and do whatever he wants.''

Still, Cleveland first baseman Ryan Garko had a question for Ramirez.

``I asked him, 'Manny, why aren't you on second?' He said he thought Grady caught it. We've all been there,'' Garko said.

Ramirez was in the spotlight from the first inning on Thursday. He doubled to left-center, tying Pete Rose's LCS record of hitting in 15 consecutive games. Then Lowell hit a soft single to right, and third base coach DeMarlo Hale energetically waved Ramirez home.

Ramirez's lack of speed was no match for Franklin Gutierrez's powerful arm, and Ramirez was out by several feet.

Asked what happened, Manny was Manny again. He smiled, said nothing and walked away.

Still, he's been Boston's best hitter in the playoffs.

``It was key that Manny had some success early,'' Varitek said. ``You give a great hitter confidence, it means a lot.''

by: Staff Writers – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from theSpread.com

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - MLB home 

Recent MLB Discussions

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Giants vs. Rockies MLB Pick Will the Giants rebound from their loss to the Rockies last night when the NL West rivals clash again today at 4:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Orioles vs. Indians MLB Prediction After losing on Friday night, will the Indians rebound with a win today against the Orioles when the two teams meet at 4:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Cardinals vs. Nationals Free Pick The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals have two of their more notable arms on the mound today....
Thumbnail Can White Sox cool off Royals today? For the second time in almost a week, Yordano Ventura and Carlos Rodon are ready to meet in a showdown of highly regarded young hurlers.
Thumbnail Tigers vs. Athletics Pick The Detroit Tigers look to pick up another win on the road this afternoon when they face the Oakland Athletics at...
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Headlines

More inMLB News  

MLB Team Pages