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Hanley Ramirez leads Red Sox past Astros 10-3, forces ALDS Game 4

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Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez had himself a day on Sunday in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Astros. The veteran of 13 seasons went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI, helping the Red Sox defeat the Astros 10-3 to force Game 4. Ramirez joins Jake Lamb as players to have four-hit games so far this postseason.

The Astros started quick, plating three runs off of Red Sox starter Doug Fister in the top of the first inning. Josh Reddick knocked in the first run with a single and Carlos Correa followed up with a two-run home run with one out. In the top of the second, the Astros nearly had another three-spot. Carlos Beltran walked and Yuli Gurriel singled to open the frame. After getting Brian McCann to line out, manager John Farrell yanked Fister from the game, handing him the shortest ALDS start since 2014. Joe Kelly came in and had his heart sink when Reddick lifted a fly ball to deep right field, but Mookie Betts caught the ball over the wall before it could land, stealing a three-run home run.

From there, it was all Red Sox. They cut the deficit by one with a Sandy Leon RBI single in the bottom of the second against starter Brad Peacock. In the third, the Sox put together a two-out rally. Mitch Moreland doubled, then scored on Ramirez’s single. Francisco Liriano relieved Peacock, then served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Rafael Devers. Devers is the sixth player since 1903 to hit a postseason homer before the age of 21.

David Price came in to relieve Kelly to start the fourth and turned in a stellar performance. His tenure in Boston has been rocky, to say the least, so he needed this and so did the Red Sox. He hurled four shutout innings, yielding four hits and a walk while striking out four on 57 pitches.

The Red Sox broke the game open in the seventh. The first five batters reached base: Andrew Benintendi walked, then Betts and Moreland singled to load the bases. Ramirez then ripped a ground ball double to left-center field, pushing two more runs across for a 6-3 game. Devers then blooped a weak single to shallow left field to score another run. After Leon flied out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. lifted a home run down the right field line that glanced off of the glove of a leaping Reddick, bumping the score to 10-3.

Addison Reed entered in the eighth, working around a two-out Gurriel single for a scoreless frame. Carson Smith came on in the ninth and, despite giving up a pair of singles, had a stress-free time closing out the 10-3 victory.

The series continues on Monday (time to be determined, per MLB.com’s Alyson Footer) with the Astros leading two games to one. The Astros will send Charlie Morton to the hill. The Red Sox have not announced a starter yet.

Oakland Athletics donate $100,000 to Black organizations

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As the United States experiences another night of protests against police brutality, the Oakland Athletics released a statement. Many sports leagues and individual teams released statements today — though not MLB nor most of its teams, interestingly — but the A’s went further than most. Their statement:

We are heartbroken and saddened by the inequities that persist in this country and the impact felt in our community. We stand in solidarity with the Black community in Oakland and beyond against racism and injustice. We will continue to support local organizations by donating $100,000 today to the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, Oakland NAACP, and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, who work tirelessly to serve the needs of the Black community.

Most organizations’ statements were so vague as to be meaningless, so it is nice to see the A’s not only acknowledge the problem, but put their money where their mouth is as well.

That being said, there is still some room for improvement. First, it is important to acknowledge what, exactly, the “racist and injust” inequities are. George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, the latest extrajudicial killing of a Black man at the hands of police. That’s why there have been protests across the nation for the last week. These statements, if they are to have the impact intended, need to explicitly mention police brutality against Black people. This is unquestionably a time to take sides and the lack of specificity benefits those doing the oppressing.

Second, what other actions will the Athletics take to show solidarity? The team had a “Law Enforcement Day” scheduled for August 2 this summer. Given recent events, would that have been canceled if there were a normal season? Will they hold Law Enforcement Day if an altered 2020 happens, and will they hold such events in the future? Will they contract with local police departments for security? If the Athletics’ solidarity begins and ends with a simple cash donation, the organization is just paying for good P.R.

The A’s should absolutely be applauded for their financial commitment to good causes. But there are always ways to do better.