Hanley's go-ahead HR lifts Sox over Astros

Hanley's go-ahead HR lifts Sox over Astros

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez belted a two-run homer to left that just cleared the Green Monster with one out in the seventh that led the Red Sox to a comeback 5-4 victory over the Astros in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday at Fenway Park.

David Ortiz, who has struggled mightily against lefties this season, worked a key walk against Tony Sipp to set up Ramirez's homer. It was Ortiz's second walk against a lefty this season. Ramirez's homer erased the bitter taste that occurred in the top of the seventh, when Alexi Ogando surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to Carlos Correa and then a go-ahead solo shot by Evan Gattis.

"First pitch he threw a changeup, then back to a changeup then he threw me a fastball that I kind of missed a little bit," said Ramirez. "I slipped a little bit when I swung. Then I was sitting on a changeup, I was still out front but I put on a good follow-through."

Sipp said Ramirez got just enough of a ball down in the zone.

"That's just how it goes," he said. "Sometimes they'll hit a good pitch. He's pretty good and caught a good pitch. Location wasn't just bad, just down the middle."

In the battle of highly-touted young starters, Lance McCullers and Eduardo Rodriguez both fared well while they were out there in five-inning stints. McCullers allowed seven hits and a run, walking three and striking out three. Rodriguez allowed six hits and a run, walking two and striking out eight.

The Red Sox have won seven of their last 10 games -- and three straight series -- to move to six games back in the American League East.

McCullers works out of a jam

Hanigan finds stroke: Catcher Ryan Hanigan, making his third start since returning from the disabled list, belted three straight singles to right field. He drove in two runs to help the Red Sox break out to a 3-1 lead through six.

"He's come back to us and right prior to him breaking his hand, he was putting up tough at-bats," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He fouls off a number of quality pitcher pitches. And to serve three base hits in roughly a 20-foot span, in the same spot, key RBIs. He's just doing a very good job in that spot in the order." More >

Hanigan's second RBI single

Welcome back, Jake: Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick returned from the disabled list Sunday and made one of the best catches of the season. Marisnick followed a long run with a leaping grab while crashing into the Green Monster for the final out of the sixth inning to rob Brock Holt of extra bases and an RBI.

"That was pretty unreal," said pitcher Will Harris, who was on the mound. "I knew he hit it pretty well and I kind of watched Holt's reaction and he was busting out of the box, and I was like, 'All right, maybe it's not a home run.' I turned around and it was the best catch I've seen in a while, you know? It's good having Jake back. He plays really hard and is definitely one of the best center fielders in the game." More >

Must C: Marisnick's Monster grab

Ortiz at-bat critical to win: While Ramirez got the headlines for hitting the go-ahead homer, Ortiz worked one of his best at-bats of the season for the walk that set up Ramirez. Ortiz fouled off six pitches before drawing just his second walk against a lefty this season.

"I wanted to do anything but walk him and got the 1-2, slider started backing up on me, I couldn't get the one that was sharp, looked like a strike and then fade out of the zone," said Sipp. "That's why he kept fouling off and he was a little disappointed because he was missing some of my mistakes. Right there at the end, I just threw a ball that was a little bit too low and walked him. That was the last thing I wanted to do was walk him. He's not hitting the best right now so I wanted to at least make him put it in play. If he's swinging the bat well then it's not a bad thing to do to walk him, but right now he's not the same Big Papi."

Papi plays first at Fenway

Crush City lives: Correa and Gattis, both of whom made costly errors on defense to allow the Red Sox to score twice in the sixth inning, came through in the seventh. Correa launched a two-run homer off Ogando to tie the game, and Gattis followed with a line-drive shot into the first row in left field to put the Astros ahead, 4-3.

Correa's two-run shot

"We didn't finish plays or at-bats really like we normally do. We had a lot of walks. We gave them a couple of extra opportunities and they took full advantage and [we got] beat on a front-foot, one-armed home run. Tough day."
-- Astros manager A.J. Hinch

The Astros have lost four of their last eight games in which they've hit multiple homers this year after winning their first 27.

Rodriguez became the first Red Sox pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1920) to allow one run or less in six of his first eight career starts.

Rodriguez's eight strikeouts

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sunday's game marked the first time in the franchise's 17,867-game history that the Red Sox did not have a first baseman record a putout.

Hinch went 2-for-2 in replay challenges. He got a call overturned in the fourth inning, giving the Astros a double play. Shane Victorino was originally called safe at first base after hitting a grounder to third baseman Luis Valbuena, who threw to second to force out Pablo Sandoval. The replay showed Jose Altuve's throw from second base beat Victorino. In the fifth, Correa was called out while trying to steal a base before the call was overturned.

Astros challenge call at second

Boston manager John Farrell issued a successful challenge of his own in the sixth, when Chris Carter was originally ruled safe on an attempted steal of second base. The replay revealed that his foot temporarily came off the bag, and the call was overturned after a review of one minute and 12 seconds. The Red Sox have now gotten 13 calls overturned on 29 challenges this season.

Red Sox challenge safe call

Astros: Ace Dallas Keuchel (10-3, 2.03 ERA) takes the mound when the Astros open a four-game series at Progressive Field against the Indians at 6:05 p.m. CT on Monday. Keuchel has not allowed a run in his last 17 innings, which is the longest streak by an Astros pitcher this year. He's gone at least six innings in 28 consecutive starts, dating to last year, and leads the Majors in innings pitched.

Red Sox: Following an off-day on Monday, lefty Wade Miley (8-7, 4.53) will take the ball for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET opener of a two-game series against the Marlins and righty Dan Haren. Miley earned the win last time out, though he wasn't all that sharp, giving up seven hits, four runs and seven walks over five innings against the Blue Jays.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.