J.D. Martinez made what could have been a costly error for the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning of their game game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Martinez doubled to make it a 3-2 game in favor of the Rays. Boston finally got some momentum swinging its way, and Rafael Devers looked to extend the inning after Xander Bogaerts struck out. Devers lined out, though, and Martinez made a baserunning blunder and was caught in a double play to end the inning.
The designated hitter got the last laugh, though.
Martinez, with two men on and nobody out in the bottom of the 12th and down a run again, doubled to right and the ball completely ate up Randy Arozarena. He didn’t even bother to get up as Hunter Renfroe and Alex Verdugo came around to score and seal the 6-5 Red Sox win in 12 innings at Fenway Park.
Manager Alex Cora admitted Martinez forgot how many outs there were in the eighth. But in the end, it didn’t matter because the Red Sox officially won the series over the defending American League champions.
For Martinez, it was all part of the master plan.
“It was planned,” Martinez joked after the game. “I knew if I messed up Christian (Vazquez) would come up the next at-bat in the next inning and hit a home run off (Diego) Castillo. So it was all planned.”
But just how did it feel to be the one who walked the Red Sox off?
“It was great,” Martinez said. “All jokes aside, after I made that mental mistake on second and then coming up with the go-ahead run … in the ninth, hitting that ball … not winning it there, it felt good to come through in that situation.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— Rays manager Kevin Cash had a tough choice to make with two men on and first base open: pitch to Martinez or Xander Bogaerts?
Ultimately Cash let Ryan Thompson take his chances with the DH. But did the move surprise Cora?
“My job is to manage the Red Sox,” he said. “Probably a lot of people were surprised. I don’t get into that. Cash is a great manager. They do a good job over there.”
— Tuesday’s win officially sealed the series win for Boston, despite the outcome of Wednesday’s game.
“It was a big win,” Martinez said. “Tampa Bay’s a really good team. So to take a series from them is big. But we’re not looking at these two games. We need to come back out (Friday) and win.”
Cora was happy with the win, especially after getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend.
“We won the series against the defending American League champions,” he said. “It was a good bounce back after what happened this weekend.”
— Franchy Cordero made a game-changing catch in the seventh when he leapt up and caught out No. 2 against the Green Monster before turning into an inning-ending double play.
— The Red Sox and Rays wrap up their series Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.