Ramirez nears Frank Thomas territory

CHICAGO -- Alexei Ramirez's hot start on offense is starting to reach Frank Thomas proportions.

With a hit in Wednesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox, Ramirez will tie Thomas' franchise record for longest hit streak to open a season at 15 games. His current 14-game streak is tied with Lance Johnson (1993) for second longest in club history. Thomas' record came in 1996.

Making it that much more impressive is that Ramirez has been doing his damage at the bottom of the order, starting eight times in the No. 8 spot, five times in the seventh hole and once in the sixth slot.

But more important for Ramirez than the hot start and the hitting streak is the chance to win games again, something that was missing from last season's 99-loss club. Ramirez has even been the face of the game-ending run, scoring the walk-off winner in each of the past two games.

On Sunday it was his game-ending two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians, and on Tuesday it was his run scored from second base on a Red Sox error in the bottom of the ninth that ended it.

"I'm very happy for (the hitting streak)," Ramirez said through an interpreter after Tuesday's victory. "I'm just very fortunate, but more so I was happy that I was able to get on base so we can win the game. That's what we're trying to do. But I'm very thankful, very thankful to God for allowing me to do that."

Hitless in three previous trips to the plate against the Red Sox, Ramirez didn't extend his hitting streak until his final at-bat Tuesday.

Tying and possibly passing Thomas' season-opening hit streak would be only fitting for Ramirez since it would put his impressive start into the record books. Quite frankly, though, matching Thomas is not high on is priority list.

"Up to this moment I haven't really thought about that," Ramirez said. "What I've been doing is me contributing to this team, trying to do everything I can to help this team win and to be honest with you, I don't even know what Frank Thomas' record is. I just want to focus on myself and what I can do, how I can contribute."