The Red Sox set a franchise record with five home runs in a postseason game as the offense, along with a stellar performance from Tanner Houck, helped Boston claim a 14-6 win in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox now travel back to Boston with the best-of-five series tied 1-1. Game 3 will be played at Fenway Park on Sunday with a Game 4 now scheduled for Marathon Monday in Boston.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
Yes, it was the offense that recorded an unbelievable 14 runs on 20 hits (!!), but it was Houck who was the hero the Red Sox needed at the time they needed one most.
Houck, in just his second career playoff game, took over to begin the second inning after a mere one-inning start from Chris Sale. The right-hander then covered the next five frames while allowing just one run — a solo home run in the sixth.
Houck completely changed the game for Boston, allowing its offense the time to mount an impressive comeback behind what was then four home runs — Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernández, J.D. Martinez. Houck took the mound in the bottom of the second with the Red Sox trailing the Rays 5-2, and he gave the ball to Ryan Brasier with the Red Sox possessing a 9-6 lead in the bottom of the seventh.
Houck allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and did not give up a base on balls. He threw 44 of his 61 total pitches for strikes after Sale was pulled following a 30-pitch (and five-run) first inning.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Hernández was 5-for-6 at the plate including four (!!) extra-base hits — one home run, three doubles — to lead the Red Sox offense. It was his first career five-hit game. The Red Sox center fielder scored three runs with three RBIs, the first of which came on the game-tying blast in the fifth inning.
— It was a very good return to the office for Martinez, who had missed the prior to games with an ankle sprain. The Red Sox designated hitter hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to give Boston an 8-5 advantage, their first lead since Sale’s outing. Martinez finished the game 4-for-5 with three RBIs and one run scored.
— Verdugo finished the game with the exact same offensive stat line as Bogaerts — 3-for-5, two RBIs, two runs, solo home run — but also added some plays in left field, including one that took him over the left-field-line wall to bring back a foul ball before he went out of play.
There were plenty of ways to make money Friday without having to bet the typical moneyline or spread for the home-favorite Rays (-1.5). If you were to turn your attention to home run propositional bets, Alex Verdugo (+500), Kike Hernandez (+425), Xander Bogaerts (+390), J.D. Martinez (+380), Rafael Devers (+280) all would have earned bettors a nice payday, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. A $100 bet on Verdugo, who had five-to-one odds, would have earned a total payout of $600.
ON DECK AT NESN
Make sure to tune into NESN immediately following Game 2 for postgame coverage. You can also watch Game 3 pregame coverage on NESN starting at 3 p.m. ET with first pitch from Fenway Park scheduled for 4 p.m.