Red Sox

‘He has been incredible’: A closer look at Kike Hernandez’s historic stretch

"Enrique right now is en fuego."

Kiké Hernández makes a diving catch Friday against the Astros. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Kiké Hernández entered the American League Championship Series as arguably the hottest hitter in the postseason, and he found a way to one-up himself Friday night in Game 1 against the Houston Astros.

Hernández belted solo home runs in the third and the ninth innings, added a double and single, and made several terrific catches in center field. The Red Sox fell, 5-4, in a back-and-forth game, but without Hernández, it wouldn’t have been as close.

“Enrique right now is en fuego,” manager Alex Cora said.

In the postseason, he’s 14 of 28 with four doubles, four home runs, eight RBIs, and seven runs scored. His 13 hits in the last four games are the most in any four-game span in postseason history.

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He now has the most career postseason games with 10-plus total bases (three), more than Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Steve Garvey, and George Brett (two).

Following a sharp single in the first, he made a critical diving catch with the bases loaded in the second. His first home run carried a whopping 448 feet and tied the score at 1, then he doubled in the fourth, made another catch in the fifth, and added a 425-foot shot to left in the ninth to slice the deficit to 5-4.

Nearly every time the Astros made some noise, Hernández responded.

He became the first leadoff hitter with two home runs and four hits in a playoff game and the fourth player to have multiple games with four-plus hits in a single postseason.

Hernández joins Reggie Jackson as the only player to have 29 total bases in a four-game span in the playoffs. His two four-plus hit postseason performances — in just six games — are already tied for the most in Red Sox history with Nomar Garciaparra and Jacoby Ellsbury.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Hernández said. “It’s a blast. It’s October, and these games tend to be a lot of fun. A lot of adrenaline. A lot of electricity in the crowd. The fact that I’m playing well adds on to it a little bit.”

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Hernández said his postseason experience with the Los Angeles Dodgers has helped him “get a little bit numb” toward the moment. He said his time there has allowed him to stay under control regardless of the stakes.

His brilliance came in a loss, which obviously disappointed him, but his teammates still took notice.

“He has been incredible,” starter Chris Sale said. “He has been a guy we can lean on. And I think he enjoys that. I think he rolls around in that a little bit. And it’s fun to see.”

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