HOUSTON — Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez helped the Boston Red Sox have a grand old time Saturday night in Houston.
Boston became the first team to hit two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros that tied their American League Championship Series at one game apiece.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Boston. It will be the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.
Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis García with two outs in the first inning. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time MLB All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.
"That situation, the pressure is on him, it's not on me to come through there," Martinez said. "It's the first inning. He has bases loaded. I'm trying to tell myself that, trying to stay relaxed and just looking for a pitch so I can just put a barrel on it."
García exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.
"J.D.'s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny," Boston's Kiké Hernández said. "Has that ever happened before?"
It has now.
Hernández, whom Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as "en fuego" after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.
Hernández has been this postseason's hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004, 2007). His five homers are also tied for most in team history with Ortiz (2004, 2013) and Todd Walker (2003).
"The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in," Hernández said.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener Friday night as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.
"That's a tough team," Cora said. "It's never comfortable with them because they're a swing away from getting back in the game."
The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.
Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.
"At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done," Hernández said.
Astros manager Dusty Baker isn't sure how long García will be out, but he said that he'd been dealing with this issue "on and off" but didn't tell anyone about it.
"It wasn't bothering him enough not to pitch,'" Baker said. "We'll make a determination in a couple of days."
The injury to García is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.
They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team's sign-stealing scandal.
When McCullers went out, Baker said the team would just have to "hit more" to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it will be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team with an offense that has outpaced everyone this postseason.
So what is he asking from his offense now?
"Do some more," he said with a chuckle while shaking his head. "You don't have much choice, so we just have to do some more. That's all."
Odorizzi was left off the ALDS roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn't good news for a team running short on starters.