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Hanley Ramirez claims he can get even hotter than he is now

05.02.17 at 11:30 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez has four home runs in four games. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez has four home runs in four games. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez is heating up.

The Red Sox designated hitter hit two home runs on Tuesday night in the Red Sox’ 5-2 win over the Orioles. He led both the fourth and sixth innings with solo home runs over the Monster seats.

Ramirez has four home runs in his last four games, and three have gone 440-plus feet. All five of Ramirez’s home runs this year have come in his current eight-game hit streak.

Ramirez said he can still get better.

“Not yet. Not yet,” he said. “I’m getting close. Getting close. I’ve just been working to stay short and more compact with my swing.”

After struggling a bit to open the year, and some tough luck of late, things are starting to click.

“It’s just adjustments in the cage, going through the ball and finishing your swing,” Ramirez said. “It’s the little things that can make you drive the ball or not drive the ball. I’ve been working a lot with Chili [Davis] and Victor [Rodriguez] in the cage to drive the ball.”

Since May 20 of last season, Ramirez leads the majors with 20 home runs, 53 RBIs (tied with Nolan Arenado, a .725 slugging percentage in 45 home games.

With the Red Sox lineup going up and down of late, Ramirez hitting the way he is now would certainly help steady the ship at the plate.

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Manny Machado goes on tirade for ages after Chris Sale throws behind him in 1st inning

05.02.17 at 11:00 pm ET
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Manny Machado is not happy with the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Manny Machado is not happy with the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is not happy.

After what took place in Baltimore just over a week ago and then Mookie Betts getting hit on Monday night, in the first inning with two outs and nobody on base Chris Sale threw a fastball behind Machado.

Nothing transpired, but warnings were issued to both benches.

Machado then struck out in the at-bat, but would later get his revenge with a towering home run in the seventh inning.

The Red Sox got the win 5-2, but that didn’t stop Machado going off after the game.

“[Expletive]. [Expletive], bull—-,” he said “[Expletive] [expletive] [expletive]. Coward stuff. I mean, that’s stuff that you don’t [expletive] do. But I mean, I’m not on that side. I’m not in that organization. They’re still thinking about that same slide that I did. There was no intention on hurting anybody and I’m still paying, I’m still trying to get hit at. Get thrown at on my [expletive] head. They’re [expletive] throwing everywhere. [Expletive] [expletive].

“I’ve lost my respect for that organization, that coaching staff and everyone over there.”

The rant did not stop there.

“I mean, if you’re going to [expletive] hit me, hit me,” he said. “Go ahead. [Expletive] hit me. Don’t let this [expletive] keep lingering, [expletive] around, and keep trying to hit people. It’s [expletive] bull—-. It’s [expletive] bulls—. MLB should do something about it. You have pitchers out there with [expletive] balls in their hands throwing 100 miles per hour trying to hit people. I’ve got a [expletive] bat too. I could go up there and crush somebody if I wanted to. But you know what, I’ll get suspended for a year, and the pitchers only get suspended for two games. That’s not cool.”

Word of Machado’s words got over to the Red Sox and Sale, but they didn’t seem to bother him.

“I can’t speak on what he says,” Sale said. “I don’t know what he said. I’m not too worried about it either.”

Added Sale: “Whatever, man. I’m not losing sleep tonight.”

The Red Sox and Orioles will continue their series Wednesday and Thursday at Fenway Park.

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Red Sox 5, Orioles 2: After 11 days, Chris Sale, Hanley Ramirez finally gave their team payback

05.02.17 at 9:43 pm ET
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Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Think about how may things had gone awry since Manny Machado’s cleats met Dustin Pedroia’s left knee.

The Red Sox didn’t retaliate the day after the incident. When they did try, first Eduardo Rodriguez failed, and then Matt Barnes threw a pitch behind Machado’s head. That, of course resulted in a four-game suspension for the reliever, along with suggestions that the team’s leadership structure was in disarray.

Then, once back in Boston, it was Machado who got his revenge, launching a home run while taking an eon to round the bases. A little while later, Baltimore starting pitcher Dylan Bundy was able to hit his (alleged) target, nailing Mookie Betts in the leg with his hardest fastball of the night.

The Betts’ plunking led to an embarrassing eighth inning by the Red Sox, whose defense and baserunning had to have left the Orioles giggling just a bit. And, to top things off, along came the claims by Adam Jones that he had been the victim of racist taunts from the Fenway Park crowd.

It would be fair to say it all left the Red Sox with a thick layer of uneasiness.

Then along came Chris Sale, with a side of Hanley Ramirez. All of a sudden the Red Sox had a 5-2 win over Baltimore, with a returned sense of pride. (For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

Sale did his thing once again, initially striking out the first five batters he faced before taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning. When it was all said and done, the lefty went eight innings for a third straight start, allowing just two runs on three hits, striking out 11.

He joined Pedro Martinez as the only Red Sox with five straight double-digit strikeout games.

“It’s special,” Sale said of the accomplishment. “I don’t put a whole lot of weight in those kind of things – numbers, stats, that kind of stuff. But when you’re talking about him, that’s special, and I appreciate that.”

But it was one pitch, a 98 mph fastball behind the legs of Machado in the first inning, that truly helped define Sale’s importance. It didn’t hit the third baseman. It did, however, help finally lead to some satisfaction for the Red Sox, with the southpaw going on to fan Machado.

The image of Sale coming into the Red Sox’ dugout, distributing a series of high-fives before seemingly bursting into some sort of rant on the bench, was exactly what this team needed.

“I don’t know that there’s any other word than outstanding,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s pitching in high-leverage situations almost every day that he’s taking the mound for us. Every inning in which he’s pitched, there’s been pivotal moments inside that. I think he’s embraced everything that his early career here in Boston has been for him, pitching on maybe a little bit more of a higher-profile stage just because of the environment and the market here. But it has not phased him, nor have we seen him waiver in any form or fashion. He’s one of the more concentrated type guys on the mound with outstanding stuff.”

And when it was clear the Red Sox’ offense was actually going to help out Sale this time around, with Hanley Ramirez hitting two more home runs, the hosts finally could look across the diamond with some semblance of accomplishment.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

The Orioles executed a 6-4-3 triple play in the eighth inning. The occurrence happened when shortstop J.J. Hardy inadvertently let Jackie Bradley Jr.’s pop-up drop in shallow left field. With Mitch Moreland curiously standing a few feet off second base, Hardy threw the ball in to allow the tag on Moreland. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop proceeded to step on second base for a force out, with Dustin Pedroia on first. And, finally, Schoop threw the ball to first to get Bradley Jr., who hadn’t run the play out. It was the first triple play against the Red Sox since came in 2001.

Video: Chris Sale throws behind Manny Machado; Red Sox, Orioles receive warnings

05.02.17 at 8:01 pm ET
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It’s the drama that won’t die.

What started with Manny Machado sliding into Dustin Pedroia’s left knee April 21 at Camden Yards, evolved into some more heat between the Red Sox and Orioles Tuesday night.

A night after Baltimore starting pitcher Dylan Bundy hit Mookie Betts — possibly in response to Matt Barnes throwing behind the head of Machado April 23 — Chris Sale attempted to enact his own justice in the first inning.

With two outs in the first inning, the Red Sox’ starter’s first offering to Machado was a 98 mph fastball behind the knees of the Orioles’ first baseman.

Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn immediately issued warnings to both sides, resulting in Baltimore manager Buck Showalter coming out to protest. While Showalter was jawing with Reyburn, Machado could be seen yelling toward the Red Sox’ dugout.

The at-bat resulted in Sale striking out Machado, eliciting a series of enthusiastic high-fives upon returning to the Red Sox’ dugout. The lefty went on to strikeout the first five batters he faced.

Fenway Park crowd cheers Orioles CF Adam Jones in 1st at-bat Tuesday night

05.02.17 at 7:40 pm ET
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Adam Jones expected to get booed on Tuesday night, but he was wrong as the Orioles center fielder was cheered by the Fenway Park crowd prior to his at-bat in the first inning against Chris Sale.

The cheers lasted longer than usual so Sale stepped off the mound and took his time before the first pitch.

In a way, this was Fenway Park apologizing for what occurred with Jones on Monday, as he was victim of racist taunts from the crowd.

“I expect to be booed, and I expect the fans to tell me I suck, as normal,” Jones said before the game. “Just keep the ignorant comments to yourself.”

After the game, Sale explains why he stepped off to gives Jones his moment.

“It’s nothing, really,” he said. “Obviously, what happened yesterday happened. There’s no going back from that. I wanted to show him the respect he’s earned and that he deserves. We have a great fan base here. I don’t want a few idiots to mess that up. I think Fenway came together, the Boston fans came together, and did the right thing today, plain and simple.
“Adam’s one of the best players in the game. He’s very well respected. He’s a good guy. I know him. He’s a good person. I don’t think anybody deserves to go through anything like that. I was appreciative of that moment. It was special to see Boston come together and make the right choice, do the right thing.”

Read More: Adam Jones,

Sam Kennedy: Red Sox players acknowledged hearing racial slurs at Fenway Park in past

05.02.17 at 5:56 pm ET
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Red Sox players acknowledged hearing racial slurs at Fenway in past. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox players acknowledged hearing racial slurs at Fenway in past. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

In the aftermath of the incident involving racial taunts directed at Orioles center fielder Adam Jones on Monday night, the Red Sox’ front office met with the team on Tuesday.

During the meeting it was acknowledged players have heard racial slurs at Fenway Park in the past.

“Yes. Yes,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said before Tuesday’s game. “Our players acknowledged in our meeting that they have heard inappropriate remarks in this ballpark, in other ballparks. Again, that’s why I opened my remarks today to say how saddened and disappointed I am to hear that. Our players have acknowledged that and boy, they were so great to take the time to meet with us and help us think through how we work with our operations team to do our best to eject these fans and we’ve considered taking further steps.

“John Henry was very passionate about this. Whether we ultimately revoke the tickets from someone who engages in this type of behavior or ban someone from the ballpark for a year, or for life. It’s just not acceptable behavior and we’re not going to tolerate it, but we need to know who has done it. We ask our fans to please let us know and help us in this effort. It’s incumbent upon us. It’s our responsibility. We have to do a better job. But we do have a need for a partnership with the players and our fans.”

Kennedy was upset by what took place on Monday not only because of his status with the organization, but also growing up in Boston.

“Really disappointing. Upsetting. Frustrating,” Kennedy said. “As someone who grew up a mile from this ballpark and loves Boston maybe more than life itself, just really disappointed. But I think it’s incumbent upon us to take the positive from it, which is that we can learn something. It was important to us to apologize to Adam, the entire Orioles organization, which we did this morning. We had a chance to visit with him. John Henry and I met with our players first. I thought it was important to do that. Then we went over and John and I met with Adam and Buck Showalter today just to express our apologies for what happened last night.

“We’ll all try to move forward together. It’s behavior that should never happen. It’s a reminder where we are in a society that this type of behavior still happens around the country. It’s disappointing but we have to acknowledge it, take responsibility, accountability, address it and hopefully move forward.”

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Adam Jones’ message to racist taunting fans: ‘Square up. Let’s fight and get it over with’

05.02.17 at 5:16 pm ET
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Adam Jones was the victim of racist taunts at Fenway Park Monday. (Patrick McDermott/USA Today Sports)

Adam Jones was the victim of racist taunts at Fenway Park Monday. (Patrick McDermott/USA Today Sports)

Less than 24 hours after hearing racist taunts at Fenway Park, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has a message for that fan — and a direct one at that.

“Square up. Let’s fight and get it over with,” Jones said prior to Tuesday’s game at Fenway Park.

Jones could not recall exactly what time of the game he heard the taunt because he was focused on the actual game. He also doesn’t know if it was more than one person.

“Well it’s hard to look at someone when you’re focused on a potential ball hit in any direction so to pinpoint exactly who, that might damn be impossible,” Jones said. “To hear and understand what I heard, you got great hearing. We understand that we’re the road team and that the fans don’t need to welcome us. It’s all part of the competitive edge for the fan base to tell us opponents you suck, haha you struck out, various things on your performance, which is completely understandable in the lines of just how sports work and how fan bases work.

“I just heard that all night and was something that caught my attention — the N-word. I get certain reactions when someone says something clever versus really, really stupid and ignorant. Last night was not clever, it was ignorant so it caught my attention. By the time you look back, you can’t say who said what or when it was. I was just like, ‘OK, this is really [happening].”

Several members of the Red Sox organization met with Jones on Tuesday, including owner John Henry. That meant something to Jones.

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Mookie Betts wants Red Sox fans to support Adam Jones

05.02.17 at 4:55 pm ET
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Count Mookie Betts among those who wants Red Sox fans to give Adam Jones a standing ovation Tuesday.

Following the Orioles’ 5-2 victory over the Red Sox Monday, Jones told USA Today racial taunts and a bag of peanuts were hurled in his direction during the game. He said he heard the N-word a “handful” of times.

In a tweet, Betts expressed support for the Orioles centerfielder.

Other African-American baseball stars have chimed in as well. Yankees hurler CC Sabathia said Fenway Park is the only place in his career he’s been called the N-word.

The Red Sox issued a statement Tuesday, saying they were “sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.” In an interview with WEEI’s OM&F, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said the team was taking Jones at his word.

“The truth is, we don’t who said what,” he explained. “It’s hard to identify individuals when you have a sports venue with thousands and thousands of people but again we feel accountable and feel terrible that something like this could happen at Fenway. It’s not what we’re about.”

Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker issued separate statements condemning the alleged behavior.

Read More: Adam Jones, mookie betts,

CC Sabathia says Fenway Park is the only place he’s been called the N-word in his career

05.02.17 at 4:26 pm ET
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Yankees hurler CC Sabathia says he’s been taunted with racial slurs at Fenway Park.

When asked Tuesday about Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who says fans in attendance called him the N-word a “handful” of times Monday, Sabathia explained Boston’s unsavory reputation among African-American players.

Following the Orioles’ 5-2 victory over the Red Sox Monday, Jones spoke with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale about his experience at the ballpark.

“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” he said. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”

The Red Sox issued a statement Tuesday, saying they were “sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.” In an interview with WEEI’s OM&F, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said the team was taking Jones at his word.

“The truth is, we don’t who said what,” he explained. “It’s hard to identify individuals when you have a sports venue with thousands and thousands of people but again we feel accountable and feel terrible that something like this could happen at Fenway. It’s not what we’re about.”

Kennedy confirmed a higher-than-usual 34 fans were ejected from the ballpark Tuesday, but wouldn’t say whether anybody was removed after taunting Jones. Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker issued separate statements condemning the alleged behavior.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, C.C. Sabathia, Fenway Park, New York Yankees

No reason to doubt Adam Jones about hearing racist taunts at Fenway Park

05.02.17 at 3:20 pm ET
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Adam Jones said he heard the N-word a "handful of times" at Fenway Park Monday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Jones (left) said he heard the N-word a “handful of times” at Fenway Park Monday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

The Fenway Park Race Truthers who say Adam Jones lied about hearing racist taunts must take off their tinfoil hats and answer one simple question:  Why would he make it up?

Following the Orioles’ 5-2 victory Monday over the Red Sox, in which the hometown nine committed three errors and a base running blunder in a despicable eighth inning, Jones told USA Today a handful of racial epithets and bag of peanuts were hurled in his direction. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome,” he said.

Jones’ comments elicited responses from Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker, who both condemned the reported behavior in separate remarks Tuesday. The Red Sox released a statement of their own, saying the team is “sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.”

Like almost every other major metropolitan area in the country, Boston is saddled with a racist past. But unlike other cities that have been able to shed that label, it continues to be pilloried as such. In turn, some Bostonians have taken a defensive posture when it comes to race-related topics, interpreting any reported instances of racism in their city as a personal attack.

That likely explains why some folks are intent on harboring doubt around Jones’ claims. The MMQB’s Albert Breer claims he’s never heard anybody yell a slur at Fenway Park, which puts him at odds with black players who say they’ve had different experiences. Earlier this year, David Price said he was sometimes subjected to racial barbs while he was warming up in the bullpen prior to games. While he was playing, former outfielder Torii Hunter said he “regularly heard” racist taunts at Fenway and Jackie Bradley Jr. also said recently he’s been exposed to them as well.

And on Tuesday, Yankees hurler CC Sabathia said Boston is the only place he’s been called the N-word in his career. In this game of telephone, the black players who have played at Fenway seem more believable than the white sportswriter.

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Read More: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park
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