NEW YORK -- Back on Aug. 15, 1940, a 22-year-old named Ted Williams smashed one to deep right at the original Yankee Stadium for a grand slam.On Saturday night, in the third incarnation of the ballpark in The Bronx, Rafael Devers topped the legendary Splendid Splinter, becoming the youngest player
NEW YORK -- Back on Aug. 15, 1940, a 22-year-old named Ted Williams smashed one to deep right at the original Yankee Stadium for a grand slam.
On Saturday night, in the third incarnation of the ballpark in The Bronx, Rafael Devers topped the legendary Splendid Splinter, becoming the youngest player in baseball's most storied rivalry to hit a grand slam.
"I didn't know that, but thanks for letting me know," Devers said.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Devers came through with his slam to right in the top of the first against Sonny Gray, putting the Red Sox well on their way to an impressive 11-0 romp over the Yankees.
It was part of a career-best 5-for-5 night for the slugger, who had his breakout performance at the age of 21 years and 249 days.
Aside from Williams and Devers, the only other player 22 years or younger to hit a grand slam in a Red Sox-Yankees game was Joe DiMaggio.
"I feel good," said Devers. "I didn't know that stat, but it feels good. At the end of the day, I just keep coming to the park to help us win and do what I can."
After a slow start to his sophomore season, Devers has been heating up of late. Perhaps he is demonstrating to the Red Sox that they can get the production they need at third base without making a big splash (i.e., Manny Machado) before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.
"You make adjustments every day," said Devers. "I've been making adjustments since Spring Training. I just show up at the park, come to work and let the results speak for themselves."
Over his last 14 games, Devers is slashing .339/.351/.625 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
It was the second career grand slam for the 21-year-old Devers; both have come this season. The other one was on April 18, at Anaheim. It was also the third grand slam the Red Sox have hit against the Yankees this season. Mookie Betts hit the first one on April 10, and J.D. Martinez did it a night later.
However, this was not Devers' most memorable hit at Yankee Stadium. That distinction would go to the blast he hit on Aug. 13, 2017, on a 102.8-mph fastball from Albertin Chapman for a game-tying solo shot that led his team to an eventual 3-2 victory in 10 innings.
Saturday night's slam was sweet for the Red Sox, who endured an 8-1 thumping in Friday's opener of a three-game series between the rivals.
Ace Chris Sale, who fired an absolute gem (seven innings, one hit, 11 K's), credited the early outburst by Devers for his big night.
"You guys saw it. We got four runs before I threw my first pitch of the night. That's nice," said Sale. "It shifted the entire momentum, the entire energy of the game. You could feel it even with the crowd. It was nice."
Gray retired the first two batters in the top of the first, but Martinez helped change the momentum with a single on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, and Mitch Moreland set up Devers by drawing a seven-pitch walk.
"We're very proud of him," manager Alex Cora said of Devers. "Made some adjustments, and he's staying on pitches now, driving the ball the other way. Sometimes, and I've said it all along, we take him for granted because he's talented and he did what he did last year, but he's still a kid.
"And I think our hitting group, [coaches] Timmy [Hyers] and Andy [Barkett], the help of his teammates, there's some structure now. He's staying with the program. He's doing a lot of things that probably he skipped during his Minor League career, obviously, because they needed him here last year, and we keep preaching and teaching him, and he's doing an outstanding job."
Devers also became the youngest visiting player to go 5-for-5 at any of the three versions of Yankee Stadium, and the fifth Red Sox player since 1908 to go 5-for-5 in a rivalry matchup.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.