9 incredible facts from Boston's white-hot G2

October 17th, 2021

The tone was set as soon as the ball left ’s bat for a first-inning grand slam in the Red Sox’s 9-5 victory in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series: Boston wasn’t going to roll over after narrowly dropping Game 1.

Less than two weeks into the 2021 postseason, the Red Sox’s resiliency is already becoming the stuff of legend. Oh, and so is their white-hot offense. After another prolific night, here are nine incredible facts about Boston’s nine-run onslaught, which evened this ALCS at one game apiece.

1. Martinez’s first-inning grand slam against Astros starter Luis Garcia marked the seventh postseason slam in Red Sox history, with their last also coming at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Jackie Bradley Jr. cleared the bases against then-Astros closer Roberto Osuna in Game 3 of the 2018 ALCS.

But of course, Boston wasn’t done slamming. Just one inning later, knocked a slam of his own inside the right-field foul pole, staking the Red Sox to an 8-0 lead and making them the first team to belt a pair of slams in one postseason game. In fact, the baseball world had only seen a team wallop two slams within the first two innings of a game five previous times across more than 120 seasons of regular-season play.

Only one previous postseason game had ever featured two grand slams, period. That came in Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series, when the Astros and Braves each knocked one in a game that famously lasted 18 innings (though each slam was hit within the first nine frames).

2. You knew the Red Sox weren’t going to have a big offensive day without getting in on the fun. Planet Earth’s hottest hitter singled in the second inning and then homered in the fourth -- his fifth homer in his last five games. He made a bunch of history with that second swing.

Through Game 2 of the ALCS, Hernández has already tied the Red Sox’s franchise record for most homers in a single postseason, with his five homers tying him with David Ortiz (2004 and ‘13) and Todd Walker (2003). Hernández is also the first Red Sox player to go deep five times within a five-game postseason span.

But this stretch for Hernández, which dates back to ALDS Game 2 against the Rays, goes way deeper than that. His totals include 15 hits, nine extra-base hits and 34 total bases -- all of which set new postseason records for any player in a five-game span.

3. How incredible is 34 total bases in a five-game span? Well, it’s the most any Red Sox hitter has collected across any five-game stretch in franchise history -- regular or postseason. The previous record was 32 by Kevin Millar from July 21-25, 2004.

Keep in mind, this is a Red Sox franchise that has boasted the likes of Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jim Rice, Nomar Garciaparra, Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk and Mookie Betts … just to name a few. But none of them were hotter across a five-game stretch than Hernández.

4. Devers, who has been swinging through a well-documented right forearm injury, has still been producing in big ways for Boston. The slam gave him 24 career RBIs in postseason play, tying him with Astros shortstop Carlos Correa for the most by any player in history before his 25th birthday. By the way, Devers’ 25th birthday is coming up on Oct. 24.

5. Devers already ranks fourth on the Red Sox’s all-time postseason list with those 24 RBIs, followed closely by Martinez, who’s tied with Trot Nixon for fifth with 22. Saturday marked Devers and Martinez’s 22nd and 19th postseason games in a Red Sox uniform, respectively. Dustin Pedroia, who ranks third on Boston’s all-time list, needed 51 games to tally his 25 career postseason RBIs.

Martinez now has 28 total RBIs across his first 26 career postseason games with the Tigers, D-backs and Red Sox. Only Lou Gehrig (32) has tallied more RBIs across his first 26 October contests.

6. Martinez now owns a sterling .329/.407/.575 postseason slash line in a Red Sox uniform dating back to 2018, for a .982 OPS that currently ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time list (minimum 75 plate appearances) behind Yastrzemski (1.047), John Valentin (1.046) and Garciaparra (1.016).

As Martinez goes, so do the Red Sox. Since 2018, they’re now 5-0 when he homers in a postseason game, and 12-0 when he drives in at least one run.

7. Boston racked up 11 hits in its big Game 2 victory, and double-digit hit totals are quickly becoming old hat to the club. The Red Sox have now posted 10 or more hits in each of their last five games dating back to ALDS Game 2, setting a franchise postseason record and tying the all-time record for a team’s most consecutive 10-plus hit games within a single postseason -- alongside the 2004 Astros, 2002 Angels and 1989 Cubs.

The last time the Red Sox didn’t reach 10 hits was when they were shut out by the Rays in ALDS Game 1 -- and they outhit Tampa Bay in that game, 9-6.

8. The Red Sox needed every one of their nine runs against an Astros offense that remains as potent as ever. Jason Castro’s ninth-inning homer gave Houston at least five runs in each of its first six games to begin this postseason, the second-longest streak in history -- trailing only the 1987 Twins, who scored at least five times in each of their first seven postseason games. That Twins team went on to win the franchise’s first World Series championship.

9. Finally, we probably should have known that the Red Sox would be just fine Saturday … so long as Alex Cora was sitting in the manager’s seat. Cora still has not lost back-to-back postseason games in his career, and he’s now 16-5 across his first 21 postseason games as a skipper.

That .762 postseason win percentage is currently the highest for any manager with at least 20 games of October experience, and Cora’s 16 wins also tie Hall of Famer Earl Weaver for the most within a manager’s first 21 postseason contests.