Red Sox

Red Sox even up the ALCS behind grand slams from J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers in Game 2

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez both hit grand slams in the Red Sox' Game 2 win over the Astros. Elsa/Getty Images

The Red Sox scored all the runs they needed to win Game 2 in the first two innings on Saturday.

Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez got the day started with a bang, hitting a two-out grand slam off Astros starter Luis Garcia in the first to put them up 4-0.

Boston doubled its lead in the second. After Garcia walked his third batter to start the inning, he was pulled due to an injury that was later diagnosed as right knee discomfort. With Jake Odorizzi pitching, the Red Sox loaded the bases again after a pair of singles for Rafael Devers. Devers took advantage of the grand opportunity, hitting a grand slam along the right field line to give the Red Sox an 8-0 lead.

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Kiké Hernández continued his playoff magic in the fourth, hitting a solo homer to extend the lead to 9-0. The homer was Hernández’s fifth of the postseason and his third of the ALCS.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi held the fort down. After a 41-minute wait between his appearances in the first and second innings, Eovaldi retired eight straight hitters to keep the Astros scoreless.

Eovaldi did get into some trouble though in the fourth. He gave up a two-out walk to Jordan Alvarez which was followed by a single by Carlos Correa. Kyle Tucker recorded his first hit of the series when he hit a double to score Alvarez and move Correa to third. Yuli Gurriel knocked both of them in to make it 9-3. Eovaldi struck out Chas McCormick to end the threat.

The Red Sox’ top starter lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Adam Ottavino and Garrett Whitlock throw a combined 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief. The Astros were able to get two runs back on two solo home runs of Darwinzon Hernandez in the ninth, but Ryan Brasier was able to record the final out, winning Game 2 for the Red Sox and evening the series.

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Here’s everything that happened in Game 2 of the ALCS:

Middle of the ninth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Xander Bogaerts, who’s had a relatively quiet first two games of the series, doubled to deep right to get the ninth started of Ryne Stanek, who came in to start the inning.

Bogaerts was able to move to third on Verdugo’s ground out to first. He wasn’t able to score though as Martinez’s grounder to third led to Bregman tagging Bogaerts out and throwing the ball to first to complete the double play.

End of the eighth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Whitlock started the eighth the same way he began the seventh, with a strikeout. He was able to get Bregman to strike out swinging at his slider.

Alvarez loaded the count in the next at-bat, but popped out to left. Correa grounded out to short to end the inning.

Middle of the eighth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Garcia remained in the game for Houston entering the eighth and got Vazquez to strike out and Arroyo to ground out for two easy outs.

Garcia lost some control though in the next two hitters he faced. He walked Schwarber (who was replaced by Bobby Dalbec following the walk) and hit Hernández to put two runners on. Devers wasn’t able to take advantage, popping out to end the threat.

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Heading into the bottom half of the eighth, it appears Whitlock will stay in to set up the Red Sox for their final three outs in Game 2.

End of the seventh (Red Sox lead 9-3):

A night after Garrett Whitlock noticeably wasn’t used, the Red Sox called on his number in the seventh inning in Game 2. With Whitlock in the game, Christian Vazquez replaced Kevin Plawecki behind the plate.

Whitlock threw three sinkers for three strikes against McCormick, getting the center fielder to strike out swinging to start the inning. Jason Castro, pinch-hitting for Maldonado, was able to draw a walk on a full count. Altuve loaded the count in the ensuing at-bat, but flew out to center for the second out.

To get the third out, Whitlock needed some help from Arroyo. Brantley grounded into the shift and with Arroyo playing in shallow right, the second baseman was able to field the hopper before twisting and throwing Brantley out at first to end the inning.

Middle of the seventh (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Despite two righties due up for the Sox in the seventh, Taylor remained in the game to start the inning. He continued to get guys out, striking out Bogaerts with his fastball and getting Verdugo to fly out to center.

But a Martinez single up the middle ended Taylor’s day. Houston called on righty Yimi Garcia to finish the inning, which he did. Garcia got Renfroe to strike out in three pitches, with Renfroe whiffing at a sinker to end the inning.

End of the sixth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Adam Ottavino was able to put away Correa by getting him to strike out swinging at a slider. A Tucker single in the ensuing at-bat put the Red Sox in a little bit of trouble, especially when Tucker stole second with no attempt to put runners in scoring position.

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Gurriel wasn’t able to take advantage though, grounding out to third to end the inning.

Nathan Eovaldi’s day ends

Eovaldi came back on the mound for the bottom of the sixth inning and got Bregman to foul out to start the inning. But after giving up a single to Alvarez, Alex Cora gave Eovaldi the hook for the day. Adam Ottavino will relieve Eovaldi.

Eovaldi finished with 81 pitches, giving up three runs on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Ottavino will face Carlos Correa.

Middle of the sixth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

With two lefties due up for the Red Sox in the sixth, lefty Blake Taylor was summoned from the Astros bullpen to relieve Odorizzi and got the job done.

Taylor struck out Schwarber and Hernández for the first two outs of the inning and finished it off by getting Devers to ground out.

End of the fifth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

After some hiccups in the fourth, Eovaldi got back on track in the fifth.

He struck out Maldonado in three pitches, getting the catcher swinging at his curveball. Altuve popped out to first for the second out of the inning. Eovaldi called for trainers after his first pitch to Brantley, but stayed in the game and got him to ground out to short to end the inning.

Through five, Eovaldi’s thrown 77 pitches, allowing three runs on four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.

Middle of the fifth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

Odorizzi had a clean fifth inning, his fourth in relief in Game 2. He got Plawecki to ground out, Renfroe to pop out, and Arroyo to fly out to retire the side in order.

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With the Astros getting guys warmed in the bullpen, it appears the fifth inning was Odorizzi’s last of the day.

End of the fourth (Red Sox lead 9-3):

The Astros are showing signs of life.

Eovaldi retired Houston’s first two hitters in the fourth and battled with Alvarez to try to retire the side for a third straight inning. With a full count, Eovaldi walked Alvarez on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

Correa got the Astros’ first hit since the first inning with a pop-fly single to right and Tucker’s first hit of the series – a double – scored Alvarez. Gurriel’s single to right scored Correa and Alvarez, making it 9-3.

Eovaldi ended the Astros inning by getting McCormick to strike out swinging at a curveball, limiting the damage.

Middle of the fourth (Red Sox lead 9-0):

The Red Sox nearly extended their lead again in the fourth.

Following a strikeout by Devers, Bogaerts got on board with a bloop single to center. With two outs and a 3-2 count against Verdugo, Bogaerts got a head start on Verdugo’s shot into the gap in right-center. The ball bounced over the wall, making it a ground-rule double and keeping Bogaerts at third even though he would’ve scored if the ball was in play.

Martinez almost hit another homer to right, but his liner along the right-field line ended up going into foul territory. He looked at strike three instead to end the inning.

Kiké Hernández extends the Red Sox lead to 9-0 with a homer:

Kiké Hernández is back at it again. He crushed Odorizzi’s splitter to left, hitting a 395-foot homer to extend the Red Sox lead to 9-0.

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As of the fourth inning, Hernández is 6-for-8 with three homers so far in the ALCS.

End of the third (Red Sox lead 8-0):

Eovaldi’s locked in. He retired the side in order again in the third. He started the inning bky striking out Chas McCormick, who whiffed at Eovaldi’s 100 mph fastball. Martin Maldonado grounded out to short and Altuve fouled out to Plawecki to end the inning.

Middle of the third (Red Sox lead 8-0):

The Red Sox weren’t able to hit a grand slam for the third consecutive inning. Jake Odorizzi found his groove, putting the Red Sox down in order in the third. Renfroe struck out looking, Plawecki flew out to center, and Arroyo grounded out to third to end the inning.

End of the second (Red Sox lead 8-0):

Nathan Eovaldi was not phased by the 41 minutes he sat on the bench between innings.

He retired the Astros in order in the second, getting Carlos Correa to foul out, Kyle Tucker to ground out, and Yuli Gurriel to pop out.

While the eight early runs is certainly the big story so far for the Red Sox, Eovaldi’s performance has been impressive. With such a big lead, the Red Sox could feel comfortable with Eovaldi pitching a bit longer than they usually would to help preserve the bullpen after they used seven relievers in Game 1. It’d also give them an advantage over the Astros, who are going to use their bullpen for eight innings today after using seven relievers in Game 1.

Rafael Devers hits the Red Sox’ second grand slam (Red Sox lead 8-0):

It’s only the second inning and the Red Sox have already made postseason history.

Odorizzi allowed base hits to Christian Arroyo and Kiké Hernández (with a Kyle Schwarber strikeout sandwiched between the two hits) to load the bases for the Red Sox. That led Rafael Devers to do his best J.D. Martinez impression.

Devers connected with Odorizzi’s inside slider, hitting it on a rope along the right-field line with the ball curving around the foul pole to give the Red Sox their second grand slam of the day. With their second grand slam of the day, the Red Sox are the first team in postseason history to hit two grand slams in a game.

Odorizzi was able to finish the inning without any more runs crossing the plate, but the Red Sox hold an 8-0 lead already.

Extra element to the J.D. Martinez grand slam:

While we wait for Jake Odorizzi to get ready for his relief appearance, let’s look back at Martinez’s grand slam. The Red Sox slugger actually began his MLB career in Houston but was cut by the Astros during spring training in 2014.

Here’s what then-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said about releasing Martinez at the time:

Astros starter Luis Garcia’s day ends (Red Sox lead 4-0):

A day after using seven relievers, the Astros are already using their bullpen in Game 2.

After walking Kevin Plawecki to start the inning, Astros trainers came to the mound to check out Garcia and his day ended there. He pitched just one-plus inning, walking three hitters and gave up two hits.

Jake Odorizzi enters the game for the Astros.

End of the first (Red Sox lead 4-0):

Nathan Eovaldi found himself in holes against Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley to start the game, but he got both of them to ground out. Alex Bregman was able to reach base by connecting on Eovaldi’s inside fastball, hitting a blooper to left for a single. Yordan Alvarez made solid contact on Eovaldi’s splitter, but it resulted in a line out to center to end the inning.

Through one inning, Eovaldi’s thrown 19 pitches with 11 going for strikes.

J.D. Martinez’s grand slam puts the Red Sox up 4-0 in the first

Kyle Schwarber got the day started with a leadoff double to right, setting Kike Hernández up with a golden opportunity again.

But Hernández got a taste of his own medicine when Chaz McCormick made a diving grab in center on a flyout, similar to a catch Hernández made in Game 1.

Rafael Devers drew a seven-pitch walk, but Xander Bogaerts went down swinging. Alex Verdugo was able to load up the bases by drawing a walk himself, setting the stage for the Red Sox to take a big, early lead.

And J.D. Martinez did just that. He hit Luis Garcia 93 mph fastball on the edge of the plate to the opposite field and into the right-field bleachers for a grand slam. Hunter Renfroe struck out swinging to end the inning, but the Sox already have a four-run cushion for Nathan Eovaldi.

4:16 p.m.

One thing to consider as we’re about to start Game 2 is the bullpen situation for both teams. Each team used seven relievers on Friday with a total of 16 pitchers playing, a postseason record. Will each team let their starters last longer in Game 2? We’ll found shortly.

3:59 p.m.

Despite the loss, Kiké Hernández’s performance was one of the headlines following Game 1. He went 4-for-5 on Friday, hitting two home runs, and upped his postseason batting average to .500.

Kyle Schwarber raved over his teammate in an interview with Fox’s Tom Verducci during the pregame show.

Starting pitchers

Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for the Red Sox in Game 2 and will go up against Astros starter Luis Garcia.

The Astros hit well against Eovaldi in his only start against them this season. Eovaldi gave up five runs on 11 hits, three walks, and a home run with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings pitched in an 8-3 Red Sox loss on June 9 in Boston.

Eovaldi’s pitched well in his two playoff starts this postseason. In the Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees, he gave up just one run on four hits, no walks, and a home run with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings pitched. In Game 3 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, Eovaldi allowed two runs on three hits, a walk, and a home run with eight strikeouts over five innings.

Eovaldi has some postseason experience against the Astros. In the 2018 ALCS, he pitched six innings and gave up two runs in the Red Sox’ Game 3 win. He also came out of the bullpen for a scoreless inning in the series-clinching Game 5.

Garcia had a quality start in his lone game against the Red Sox this season. He gave up just one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven innings in Houston on June 1. However, the White Sox had themselves a day in Garcia’s lone start this postseason. In Game 3 of the ALDS, Garcia gave up five runs on five hits, three walks, and a homer with three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings.

Starting lineups

With a righty starting for the Astros in Game 2, Kiké Hernández and Kyle Schwarber will swap spots in the order and Schwarber will hit leadoff in Game 2. The same goes for Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, with Devers hitting in the third spot and Bogaerts hitting cleanup.

Kevin Plawecki gets the start behind the plate with Eovaldi on the mound. The other nine starters remain the same from Game 1.

Here’s the Red Sox’ full starting lineup for Game 2:

1. Kyle Schwarber 1B

2. Kiké Hernández CF

3. Rafael Devers 3B

4. Xander Bogaerts SS

5. Alex Verdugo LF

6. J.D. Martinez DH

7. Hunter Renfroe RF

8. Kevin Plawecki C

9. Christian Arroyo 2B

The Astros have the same starting nine from their Game 1 win for Game 2, but Michael Brantley will get the start in left while Yordan Alvarez will DH. Here’s the Astros’ full Game 2 starting lineup:

1. Jose Altuve 2B

2. Michael Brantley LF

3. Alex Bregman 3B

4. Yordan Alvarez DH

5. Carlos Correa SS

6. Kyle Tucker RF

7. Yuli Gurriel 1B

8. Chas McCormick CF

9. Martin Maldonado C

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