Hanley Ramirez has been red-hot for over three weeks

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Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez smacked a pair of homers — including one to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning — to help beat the Yankees on Sunday night. That improved his club’s record to 85-64. As the Orioles also won on Sunday, the Red Sox maintained a three-game lead in the AL East. The Blue Jays lost, so they fell to third place, four games back.

The truth is, Ramriez has been swinging a hot bat since the end of August. Over 21 games between August 27 and September 18, Ramirez is hitting .390/.444/.866 with 12 home runs and 29 RBI in 90 plate appearances. To put that in perspective, he has hit 43 percent of his home runs and driven in 27 percent of his runs in less than 16 percent of his total plate appearances over the last three-plus weeks. On the season overall, Ramirez has a .294/.364/.517 triple-slash line with 28 home runs and 106 RBI in 574 PA.

Along with the offense, Ramirez has also been contributing in a leadership role for the Red Sox, as Michael Silverman reports for the Boston Herald. Ramirez is quiet and has led more by example. With David Ortiz retiring, he and Dustin Pedroia will be the veteran leaders in the clubhouse going forward.