J.D. Martinez hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Boston Red Sox backed Tanner Houck’s clutch relief effort with a franchise postseason record five home runs, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 14-6 Friday night to even their AL Division Series at a game each.
Kike Hernandez had five of Boston’s 20 hits, including a homer and three doubles, becoming Boston’s first player with four extra-base hits in a postseason game.
Xander Boerts, Alex Verdugo, and Rafael Devers all had hits for the Red Sox. They won a thrilling game after Chris Sale, ace, allowed a Jordan Luplow first-inning grand slam. Devers was then pulled with three outs.
Hernandez’s leadoff homer in the fifth off Collin McHugh tied it before Martinez went deep against Matt Wisler (0-1) four batters later. After Sale had scored five runs in his first innings, Boston was kept alive by
Houck (0-1). The rookie right-hander came out of the bullpen to start the second inning and allowed one run and two hits over five frames, retiring his first 11 batters before yielding a two-out single to Wander Franco in the fifth.
JiMan Choi was brought in to replace Luplow. He had the sole hit against Houck with a solo homer for two runs in the sixth. Houck struck out 5.
Martinez scored four runs after missing Tuesday’s win over the New York Yankees in the wild-card round and Game 1 in the ALDS because of a left ankle injury. Last weekend, he was hurt when he fell over second base as a way to get to the outfield.
Bogaerts, Verdugo and Hernandez had solo shots to steady the staggering Red Sox, who lost the opener 5-0 Thursday night. Martinez took the lead.
Devers’ two-run homer off Michael Wacha hiked Boston’s advantage to 11-6 in the eighth. In the ninth, Christian Vazquez scored an RBI single from infield. Hernandez then followed up with a two run single. Bogaerts and Verdugo each had three hits.
The Rays hadn’t allowed 14 runs in a game since Boston beat them 20-6 on Aug. 11.
Verdugo stole an out at left field. He was leaning against the wall in foul territory to catch Nelson Cruz’s fly ball in the sixth.
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 left Shane Baz was the second big-league pitcher to make a playoff start with three or less regular season appearances. Matt Moore, playing in the 2011ALDS game at Texas with the Rays was the other.
Baz and Shane McClanahan, the AL East winner, were used to open the series. Oakland joined Tampa Bay as the sole teams that started rookie pitchers during the first two rounds of the playoff series. With Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Tommy Milone, the 2012 ALDS was started at Detroit by the Athletics.
Boston has managed 2/3 innings from its two starting pitchers. After giving up five runs in the first, Sale (who had Tommy John surgery back in August) was removed. Eduardo Rodriguez had a brief outing on Thursday.
Luplow’s grand slam was the sixth homer Sale has allowed 26 career postseason innings.
HE’S IN, HE’S OUT
Boston replaced injured right-hander Garrett Richards on the ALDS roster with reliever Matt Barnes. Richards is suffering from a left-hamstring strain. He will not be eligible for the AL Championship Series roster, unless the Red Sox win.
Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 3 for Boston. In Boston’s wild card win against the Yankees, he allowed just one run and four runs over five 1/3 innings. Right-hander, 2-1, has a 1. 63 The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.
Rays manager Kevin Cash is yet to announce a Sunday starter. He may choose to go with Drew Rasmussen, or he could opt for a bullpen-day.