J.D. Martinez is adept at hitting home runs. This much we all know.
But Saturday night, the Boston Red Sox slugger proved again that he is able to come through with both timely base hits and home runs. Martinez drilled two dingers in the Sox’s 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Martinez’s first shot was a solo blast in the fourth, which cut a 2-0 Baltimore lead in half.
But the more important homer came in the eighth. Heath Hembree coughed up a one-run Red Sox advantage in the sixth, but two frames later Martinez responded in a big way. He drilled a two-run shot to left field in the eighth to give Boston a 5-3 lead, which proved to be enough for the win.
This isn’t the first time the 30-year-old has shown that he can come through in big moments with a homer. Saturday night’s go-ahead shot was his fourth homer this season when the game is considered late and close, and it was his 12th dinger with a tie game this season.
The stage Martinez is on is bigger than any he’s been a part of before in his career — even if it was just a Saturday game in Baltimore. But he’s proven time and time again that no matter the context of the game, his ability to hit for average and power will not disappear.
And that certainly bodes well for a Sox team gearing up to make a deep run this fall.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles Game 2:
— Drew Pomeranz looked fairly sharp in his two innings of work out of the bullpen Saturday night.
The southpaw was relegated to the role in favor of Brian Johnson after struggling to find his form as a starter. He allowed a single in an otherwise clean fourth inning, and a walk in a scoreless fifth. The outing comes on the heels of a scoreless, hitless fifth inning in which he walked one Friday night.
Pomeranz has plenty of experience working out of the bullpen, although it’s something he very rarely has done with the Red Sox. But he clearly is not in any position to start right now, and if he continues to pitch well out of the bullpen, the arrangement could work well for both sides.
— Brock Holt had been in a bit of a funk at the plate, but he’s rebounded of late.
The utility man has had at least a hit in five of his last seven games. And he followed up Friday’s three-hit performance with one-hit games in both contests Saturday. In the nightcap, he drove in an insurance run with an RBI single in the top of the ninth.
— Though the Red Sox kept run totals somewhat low Saturday night, it wasn’t thanks to many punchouts.
In fact, Boston pitchers did not record a single strikeout until William Cuevas struck out Jace Peterson to end the eighth. All three batters Craig Kimbrel got out in the ninth were via strikeouts, bringing the staff total to four on the night.
— Alex Cora employed a bullpen game in Game 2, utilizing seven pitchers in the win.
Starter Hector Velazquez logged the most time on the mound, handling 2 2/3 innings. Pomeranz was next with two frames of work. All other Sox pitcher tossed one inning apiece, save for Brandon Workman, who pitched just 1/3 of an inning.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images
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