J.D. hits 2 dingers, tied for MLB lead with 15

May 20th, 2018

BOSTON -- J.D. Martinez continues to be red-hot, as he belted a pair of homers in Sunday afternoon's 5-0 win against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
In the second inning, the slugger hit a first-pitch leadoff home run on a 94-mph fastball from Orioles right-hander , who was called up before the game to make his second Major League appearance.
Martinez's 14th homer wrapped around Pesky's Pole in right field, giving Boston a 1-0 lead.
"He puts himself in such a good position to hit, he's ready for what he wants to hit," said manager Alex Cora. "He took advantage of the pole. You could see him smile, like, 'Yeah, that was fun to do.' And then he got a good pitch to hit and drove it to center field.
"A lot of people were talking about how Fenway was going to affect him. When it's 80 degrees and humid, it's a good place. We've seen it before. I've seen it firsthand. He's a guy that he stays with his approach. He drives the ball to right-center and he has power."

After getting intentionally walked in the third, Martinez crushed a two-run shot to center field in the fifth. It had a projected distance of 443 feet and had an exit velocity of 108 mph, according to Statcast™. It was Martinez's 15th homer of the season, tying him with teammate for the Major League lead in dingers.
This is the first time the Red Sox have had two players hit 15 homers within the first 50 games of a season.
"A ton," Betts said, of how much having Martinez in the lineup has helped him. "He brings in not just power, he gets a lot of hits. He's hitting .350, .360 whatever he's hitting. It's not just the power but the extended innings on the pitchers."
Martinez and Betts have drawn comparisons to another legendary pair of Red Sox hitters.

"Well, [Red Sox media relations director] Kevin [Gregg] told me the two guys that I thought were at this pace, they never did it, Manny [Ramirez] and David [Ortiz]. So it's fun to watch," Cora said. "There's nothing else I can say."
Martinez also drew some ribbing from his teammates for his first homer of the day, which went to the shortest point in the ballpark.
"They were making me laugh," he said. "I said, 'I've got to get even for some of the ones I hit in April when it was cold out and I thought I crushed some and they weren't even going anywhere.' They were definitely teasing me, but I'll take it."

Martinez entered the game with a 1.116 OPS in 21 games at Fenway Park this season. He also entered the game tied with the Yankees' for the Major League lead with 44 home runs since the All-Star break last season, leading the Majors in RBIs (110), slugging percentage (.709) and OPS (1.089) in that span.
Martinez extended his career-best streak of reaching base to 25 straight games, the longest such stretch by a Red Sox batter since Betts reached safely in 29 straight games in 2016.
Martinez heard recent comments by Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, calling him the best hitter in baseball.
"Yeah, I heard that," Martinez said. "That was humbling, pretty cool."