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Red Sox rap out 20 hits in rout

by The Associated. Press | October 9, 2021 at 1:58 a.m.
Kike Hernandez had five of Boston’s 20 hits Friday as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 14-6 in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston slugger J.D. Martinez wasn't sure how well he'd run, but he thought his sprained left ankle would be OK in the batter's box Friday.

Lucky for him, the Red Sox took their time rounding the bases all night while turning an early deficit against the Tampa Bay Rays into a blowout win.

Martinez hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Red Sox backed Tanner Houck's clutch relief effort with a franchise postseason record five home runs, rallying past the Rays 14-6 to even their AL Division Series at one game each.

Game 3 of the best-of-five showdown is Sunday in Boston.

Kike Hernandez had five of Boston's 20 hits, including a home run and three doubles, becoming Boston's first player with four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers also connected for the Red Sox, who stunned Tampa Bay after ace Chris Sale allowed a first-inning grand slam to Jordan Luplow and was pulled following just three outs.

"Obviously, we had to make adjustments, and Tanner came in and did an outstanding job," Boston Manager Alex Cora said. "But offensively, it was like: `Hey, don't panic.' We put up two [runs] in the first, and we still got eight innings. They did an amazing job the whole night."

Hernandez's leadoff home run in the fifth off Collin McHugh tied it before Martinez went deep against Matt Wisler (0-1) four batters later.

"He is definitely a huge piece of that lineup, and I think he showed why today," Rays catcher Mike Zunino said of Martinez. "He came in, I know coming off an injury, and battling with that isn't easy. But he had great at-bats all day. You tip your cap."

Houck (1-0) kept Boston in the game after Sale was rocked for five runs in the first inning. The rookie right-hander came out of the bullpen to start the second inning and allowed 1 run and 2 hits over 5 innings, retiring his first 11 batters before yielding a two-out single to Wander Franco in the fifth.

Ji-Man Choi entered as a defensive replacement for Luplow and had the only other hit off Houck, a two-out home run in the sixth. Houck struck out five.

Martinez had four hits after missing Tuesday night's wild-card victory over the New York Yankees and Game 1 of the ALDS. He was injured stumbling over second base while heading to the outfield during last weekend's regular-season finale at Washington.

"It felt all right hitting," Martinez said. "Didn't feel good running, but it felt all right hitting."

Bogaerts, Verdugo and Hernandez had home runs to steady the staggering Red Sox, who lost the opener 5-0 Thursday night. Martinez then delivered the lead.

Devers' two-run home run off Michael Wacha hiked Boston's advantage to 11-6 in the eighth. Christian Vazquez had an RBI infield single in the ninth, which Hernandez followed with a two-run single. Bogaerts, Verdugo and Vazquez had three hits each.

The Rays hadn't allowed 14 runs in a game since Boston beat them 20-6 on Aug. 11.

"We knew coming in they have a very talented offense, and they just put together a lot of quality at-bats ... and just kind of put it on us," Rays Manager Kevin Cash said.

"You chalk it up as a bad game," Zunino added. "It just wasn't our night."

Martinez and Cora both said Boston's medical staff deserved credit for helping the designated hitter get back on the field.

"Those guys, they work so hard, countless hours," Cora said.

Verdugo also stole an out in left field, leaning over the short wall in foul territory in the sixth inning to catch Nelson Cruz's popup.

A night after Randy Arozarena became the first player in major league history to homer and steal home in a postseason game, the Rays got off to another fast start that whipped a yellow towel-waving crowd of 37,616 -- up from 27,419 for Game 1 -- into a frenzy.

Rays rookie left Shane Baz became the second pitcher in big league history to start a playoff game with three or fewer career regular-season appearances. Matt Moore was the other, doing it with the Rays in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS at Texas.

In using Baz and Game 1 winner Shane McClanahan to begin the series, AL East-winning Tampa Bay joined Oakland as the only teams to start rookie pitchers in the first two games of a playoff series. The Athletics began the 2012 ALDS at Detroit with Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone.

Boston, meanwhile, has only gotten 2 1/3 innings combined out of its starting pitchers through two games. Sale, who returned from Tommy John surgery in August to make nine starts down the stretch, was pulled after giving up five runs and four hits in the first inning. That followed an abbreviated outing by Eduardo Rodriguez on Thursday.

Luplow's grand slam was the sixth home run Sale has allowed 26 career postseason innings.

Boston Red Sox's Alex Verdugo celebrates after J.D. Martinez hit a three-run home run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Boston Red Sox's Alex Verdugo celebrates after J.D. Martinez hit a three-run home run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena loses his grip on the bat as he swings at a Boston Red Sox pitch during the second inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Arozarena struck out on the at-bat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena loses his grip on the bat as he swings at a Boston Red Sox pitch during the second inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Arozarena struck out on the at-bat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Wisler throws to a Boston Red Sox batter during the fifth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Wisler throws to a Boston Red Sox batter during the fifth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Boston Red Sox's Enrique Hernandez, left, celebrates his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rayw with Xander Bogaerts (2) during the fifth inning in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Boston Red Sox's Enrique Hernandez, left, celebrates his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rayw with Xander Bogaerts (2) during the fifth inning in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Boston Red Sox's Alex Verdugo pumps his fist after hitting a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Boston Red Sox's Alex Verdugo pumps his fist after hitting a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier falls to the track after making a catch in the third inning of a fly ball hit by Boston Red Sox's Rafael Devers in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier falls to the track after making a catch in the third inning of a fly ball hit by Boston Red Sox's Rafael Devers in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts (2) tosses his bat after hitting a solo home run, next to Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts (2) tosses his bat after hitting a solo home run, next to Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, right, is congratulated by third base coach Carlos Febles (52) after his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, right, is congratulated by third base coach Carlos Febles (52) after his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi celebrates his solo home run against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi celebrates his solo home run against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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