Hot Hanley homers, continues to back up talk

Ramirez promised he would break out of slump

Hot Hanley homers, continues to back up talk

BOSTON -- When Hanley Ramirez got perfect extension and belted a towering two-run homer to left-center against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery in an eventual 5-4 victory by the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park, it was hard not to flash back to a couple of weeks ago.

Prior to a game against the Twins on June 28, Ramirez playfully chatted with a few reporters during batting practice and vowed that he was about to get hot.

Ramirez also promised he would start crushing lefties again -- because that's what he's done for most of his career.

The slugger has so far backed up those words with some impressive production.

"Been working a lot in the cage to get some rhythm in my top hand, and I'm using it now," said Ramirez. "I wasn't using it [before]. I was dropping it a little bit. I've been finding a way to get on top of the ball."

Hanley on the walk-off victory

Since June 29, Ramirez has a slash line of .365/.411/.673 with four doubles, four homers and seven RBIs. Against lefties over that stretch, he's 7-for-11 with three homers.

"He's swinging the bat like he did the second half of last year, which to be quite frank, we need that type of production, and he's certainly very capable," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Before Ramirez went on this streak, he had a .562 OPS with one homer against lefties this season.

What gave him such confidence he would turn things around?

"I've done it before," Ramirez said. "Stay a little more consistent in the second half and go from there. I'm just seeing the ball good. Not trying to do too much."

While the plethora of infield rollers and the walk-off walk by Andrew Benintendi to cap Friday's win certainly created some excitement, the resurgence of Ramirez is something that will have a longer-term impact on the Red Sox down the stretch.

Aside from the homer, Ramirez also smashed a 104-mph laser off the Monster for a single against Adam Warren.

"He's been in a pretty good place here the last couple of weeks, driving the ball against lefties," said Farrell. "Even the ball off Warren, I thought he squares it up good against the wall. We've talked about Hanley's presence in our lineup a number of times, and it was there tonight for sure. One swing of the bat, he gives us a lead after being down a run. But good to see him come to life here."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.