Oct. 17—HOUSTON — When the Red Sox lost Game 1 on Friday, it was because they couldn't capitalize on their chances, let Houston hang around too long and ultimately paid the price.
This time, they made sure to leave no room for doubt.
The Red Sox ambushed the Astros right out of the gate in Game 2 on Saturday, hitting grand slams in both the first and second innings en route to a 9-5 win.
Kiké Hernandez also homered to continue his epic playoff hot streak, and with the win the Red Sox have now stolen home field advantage and return to Boston with the series tied at 1-1.
"We swung the bat well yesterday and we feel really good offensively;yesterday we played a good game and today we did too," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Obviously, going home and guaranteed three games, that's very important. Now it's a best out of five and we play three games at home."
Boston jumped on Astros starter Luis Garcia right away, with Kyle Schwarber welcoming him with a leadoff double. After Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo walked, J.D. Martinez stepped to the plate and fired a line drive into the right field stands to make it 4-0 right out of the chute.
Then, in the top of the second inning, Garcia walked Kevin Plawecki and left the game with a trainer due to right knee discomfort. Jake Odorizzi then came on after taking nearly 15 minutes to warm up due to the injury, and he promptly allowed a single to Christian Arroyo, a single to Hernández and another grand slam to Rafael Devers, making it 8-0.
Hernández tacked on a solo home run of his own in the fourth, and by game's end he was 2 for 4 plus a hit by pitch. Dating back to the American League Wild Card Game he is now 16 for 32 with five home runs, four doubles and nine RBI, making him one of just two players to ever record 16 hits over his team's first seven playoff games. Hideki Matsui (Yankees, 2004) is the other.
Beyond that, Hernández also has 15 hits over his last five games, the most over a five-game stretch by any player in postseason history, and his five home runs in the 2021 playoffs ties David Ortiz (2004, 2013) and Todd Walker (2003) for the most in a single postseason in team history.
Meanwhile, Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi took care of business on his end, allowing just three runs over 5.1 innings of work to pick up the win. The one point where Houston's bats got going came in the fourth when Yordan Álvarez walked and Carlos Correa, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel strung together three straight hits. Tucker's RBI double and Gurriel's two-run single got the Astros on the board, but the Astros never seriously threatened again.
Adam Ottavino held off another potential rally in the sixth, leaving two Houston runners in scoring position, and that was it until Houston got to Darwinzon Hernandez in the bottom of the ninth. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro both hit solo home runs to reignite the Minute Maid Park crowd, but Ryan Brasier came on to get Jose Altuve to fly out and end the game.
Game 3 will be Monday at 8:08 p.m. at Fenway Park.
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