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J.D. rounding into form, belts slam off Tanaka

MLB.com

BOSTON -- For a team that didn't hit a grand slam in 2017, it's been a little surreal to see them come in a historical bunch the past few days.

When J.D. Martinez clocked a slam to center against Masahiro Tanaka in the bottom of the fifth inning in Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Yankees, it was the third slam in the past four games for Boston.

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BOSTON -- For a team that didn't hit a grand slam in 2017, it's been a little surreal to see them come in a historical bunch the past few days.

When J.D. Martinez clocked a slam to center against Masahiro Tanaka in the bottom of the fifth inning in Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Yankees, it was the third slam in the past four games for Boston.

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Never before had the Red Sox hit three grand slams in a span of four games.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Xander Bogaerts hit a slam to lead his team to victory over the Rays on Saturday. Mookie Betts smashed one in Tuesday's 14-1 rout.

And then came Martinez, whose bullet to center suddenly trimmed an 8-2 deficit to 8-6.

It was the sixth grand slam in Martinez's career.

"Fortunately enough I came up with the bases loaded," said Martinez. "We had some good at-bats before that, guys got on and I knew he had to throw me a pitch over the plate and I was just able to put a good swing on it really. It's obviously something good to take home, but at the end of the day we lost, so it really doesn't matter."

Tweet from @_dadler: J.D. Martinez's grand slam: 112.4 mph, 436 feet. Straight as an arrow to dead center field. #RedSox pic.twitter.com/g7qbaOv9oi

It felt like it mattered at the time, however, because it got the Red Sox right back in the game.

The slugger jumped all over a first-pitch splitter from Tanaka, and it left his bat with an exit velocity of 112.4 mph while traveling a projected distance of 436 feet, according to Statcast™.

It was Martinez's second homer of the season.

Interestingly, it was the first time a Boston cleanup hitter struck for a grand slam against the Yankees since Hall of Famer Jim Rice on June 26, 1987.

Also, it was the first time the Red Sox have hit slams in two straight games against the Yankees since Luis Rivera and Mike Greenwell pulled it off in 1990.

As for Martinez, he is starting to round into form after a slow start. The right-handed hitter is slashing .250/.295/.500 and has made strides in recent days.

"Yesterday I hit the ball hard twice. Today I hit the ball good," said Martinez. "I've been just kind of grinding it out type deal. You can look at it, my swing feels good. It's coming around little by little."

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