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J.D. boosts All-Star bid with MLB-best 20th HR

Red Sox DH goes deep in first inning Tuesday against Detroit
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Facing the Tigers for the first time since he was traded last July, J.D. Martinez greeted his former mates with a towering two-run shot to left-center that gave the slugger an MLB-leading 20 for the season.

After hitting the dirt on a high-and-tight offering by Artie Lewicki in the first pitch of the at-bat, Martinez smashed a 3-2 fastball off a light stanchion above the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Boston went on to win the game, 6-0.

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BOSTON -- Facing the Tigers for the first time since he was traded last July, J.D. Martinez greeted his former mates with a towering two-run shot to left-center that gave the slugger an MLB-leading 20 for the season.

After hitting the dirt on a high-and-tight offering by Artie Lewicki in the first pitch of the at-bat, Martinez smashed a 3-2 fastball off a light stanchion above the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Boston went on to win the game, 6-0.

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With his latest homer, Martinez passed Mike Trout for sole possession of the MLB lead.

It was the 15th time Martinez has gone deep in his last 31 games, and 11th in his last 21.

The drive rocketed off his bat with an exit velocity of 108.2 mph and a projected distance of 431 feet according to Statcast™.

"He sticks with his plan," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "That's the most important thing. First pitch is at his head, tried to get him off the plate, he's disciplined enough to take two pitches on the inside part of the plate. I guess the last one was right down the middle, I don't know. But he's able to stay inside and drive that ball. That was impressive."

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After being released by the Astros during Spring Training of 2014, Martinez found a home in Detroit, slashing .300/.361/.551 with 161 homers and 486 RBIs in 458 games. The Tigers traded Martinez to the D-backs last July 18 for three prospects. Martinez signed a five-year, $110-million contract with the Red Sox on Feb. 26.

For those who wondered how his all-fields approach would fit in at Fenway, Martinez is destroying the opposition in home games. The slugger has gone deep in six of his last seven games at Fenway, and 10 of his last 14.

"Everybody always asked me that question. That was the big question in the offseason. I was like, I don't know," Martinez said. "Same boring question I keep answering over and over. I'm not going to my change approach. I'm going to try to drive the ball up the middle, right-center and be me."

Since the All-Star break last season, Martinez leads MLB with 51 homers, 124 RBIs, a .707 slugging percentage and a 1.082 OPS in 124 games.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez