Boston tie series with historic home runs by JD and Devers

JD Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a great time in Houston.

Boston became the first team to fight two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 victory over the Astros on Saturday that tied their American League Championship Series at one set each.

Martinez made it 4-0 with his shot from the field opposite rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.

Garcia came out with a sore right knee after walking to the first batter in the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay as the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers hit an out for the No. 2 slam.

"JD’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny"said his fiery teammate Kike Hernandez."Has that ever happened before?"

It has now.

Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It is the first of three straight home games for the Red Sox, returning to the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after defeating Houston in the American League Championship Series.

Hernandez, whom Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as "on fire" after a two-homer performance in Game 1, it remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo home run in the fourth inning.

Hernandez has been the best hitter this postseason, leading all players with 16 hits, five home runs and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 and 2007).

"The importance of the game is to allow me to stay focused and focused"Hernandez said.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

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The Astros earned a 5-4 victory in the series opener as they rallied behind the home runs of José Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the gaping hole early in the series.

"It is a difficult team"Cora said."He is never comfortable with them because they are one step away from getting back into the game.".

The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with Kyle Tucker’s RBI double with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with a single to right field that scored two more.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.

"In the end, it was too close for our comfort, but we made it"Hernandez said.

Garcia’s injury is another blow for a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already on the mend after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.

They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s signal theft scandal.

When McCullers left, manager Dusty Baker said the team would have to "hit more" to absorb defeat. But now that the rotation has become even more depleted, it will be an even tougher task for this powerful lineup to beat a Boston team whose offense has outscored everyone this postseason.

Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before clinching a spot in this round after McCullers’ injury. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that is certainly not good news for a team that is running out of headlines.

Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, combine 2 of 17 in the series with one hit each, including Altuve’s home run in Game 1.

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