Everybody in the Sox clubhouse was more than content to step aside in order to let the beaming Ramirez claim a moment he had been counting down to for longer than he would have ever imagined. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz had teamed to give the Red Sox their fourth back-to-back homers of the season in the third inning. They weren’t the story. The bullpen came on to pitch four more innings of scoreless relief a night after it had turned in seven frames without a run. Those guys took a back seat, too. Other Red Sox had hit the 500-homer milestone, with Jimmie Foxx doing it in 1940 and Ted Williams following suit 20 years later. But this one was accomplished in the much more magnified world of Manny, as evidenced by the surge of electricity that shot through Camden Yards the minute the ball marked “92” sailed off Ramirez’ bat. After slapping hands with Kevin Youkilis, Ramirez was thrust into a group embrace with Lugo and Ortiz, who had just put the Red Sox ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in the previous at-bat. He would finally break free to get mobbed by the rest of his teammates, who were waiting on the dugout steps.
Manny’s power overshadowed another stunning display of speed by Jacoby Ellsbury. For the second straight night the rookie stole three bases, allowing him to tie Tommy Harper for the most thefts in a month. Harper had stolen 18 in September 1973 on the way to finishing that year with a club-record 54. But it wasn’t a stolen base which proved most pivotal in exhibiting Ellsbury’s wheels. His most important sprints came on a leadoff triple in the seventh and subsequent race home on Ortiz’ sacrifice fly, leading up to Ramirez’ historic blast.
Sox Notes: David Ortiz left last night’s game in the ninth inning after feeling pain in his left wrist on a swing in which he fouled a ball down the left-field line on a full count. Ortiz’s at-bat was finished by Sean Casey. Ortiz underwent X-rays at the ballpark, which were negative, it’s unlikely he will play this afternoon.
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