PHILADELPHIA — Hanley Ramirez knew the sound as soon as he heard it. The 84 mile-per-hour slider that Phillies reliever Jake Diekman tried to sneak in after two 97-mile-per-hour fastballs cracked Ramirez’s bat.
“When I hit the ball,” Ramirez said. “I heard the sound like a broken bat.’’
But physics didn’t matter.
The ball shot off Ramirez’s bat and started sailing for the foul pole in left field. Ramirez, who already had a solo homer under his belt, watched the ball slowly drift toward the fence as he did the same up the first-base line.
It caromed off the pole for a ninth-inning grand slam that effectively turned the lights out on the Phillies’ Opening Day party at Citizens Bank Park. It was one of those moments when strength beats science, and it helped the Red Sox bury the Phillies, 8-0, on Monday.
“I don’t know,” Ramirez said. “Guess the wind was blowing and the ball went out. Things that I can’t control.”
In his first game in a Sox uniform since his major league debut 10 years ago, Ramirez was the high-wattage generator for an offense that flashed its newfound power, going 2 for 4 with two homers and five RBIs.
But Ramirez got his fuel from another source.
Seeing Dustin Pedroia blast a 1-and-1 pitch into the left-field seats in the first inning made Ramirez hungry for his own homer.
“Definitely,” Ramirez said. “I told him.”
Pedroia was two-up on Ramirez by the fifth inning, when Pedroia shot another rocket out to left.
Ramirez figured he had some catching up to do. So two at-bats later, he roped an 0-and-1 changeup out to left.
When Ramirez got back to the dugout, he and Pedroia chirped about their private home run derby. But Ramirez’s slam settled things.
“That evened the score between he and Pedey and some of the comments that might have been going on between innings,” said Sox manager John Farrell.
Looking at the results, with the Red Sox’ five homers matching the 50-year-old club record for Opening Day, Pedroia was glad to be a part of it.
“That was great,” Pedroia said about Ramirez. “He’s so big and strong. When guys get on, he can break the game open. That’s a big win. That guy was throwing hard and he stayed on his slider and put a good swing on it.”
The Sox scored all their runs via the long ball, getting four solo shots to go with Ramirez’s slam.
“It’s what everybody expected from this team,” Ramirez said. “Everybody just hit homers and scored a lot of runs. But we’re just going to try to make it easy for each other.”
The Sox have the kind of lineup built to be more powerful than the one that finished 12th in the American League in home runs a year ago. But Ramirez said the team will have to live up to the billing.
“We’ve been putting in a lot of work in spring training,” Ramirez said. “We were ready for Opening Day and that’s paying off.
“Still, we’ve got to do work on the field. Those names on paper doesn’t mean anything if you don’t go out there and do your job like we did today. We’ve just got to go all the way to the end.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.