For the second straight night, a Red Sox slugger hit a go-ahead homerun in the late innings at Yankee Stadium.
On Wednesday, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to give the Sox the lead, which they would later surrender. Then last night, J.D. Martinez broke a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning by sending one into the first row in right field.
This is exactly why the Red Sox brought Martinez to Boston. He’s been one of the top sluggers in the league since 2015. For a team that was tied for last in the American League in homeruns, a player like Martinez was much-needed in the middle of the lineup.
This year, they’re tied for first in all of baseball. They’re also second in runs scored. This is largely due to the contributions from Martinez, who is second on the team in homers, with nine and first in RBI, with 29.
Ramirez knows the importance of timely homeruns, which is something the team has been missing since David Ortiz retired.
“I told him before he went up he better hit a homer right here,” Ramirez said. “You know, and he did. That’s good. I told him to his face, ‘We need a homer from you right here,’ and he went out and hit it.”
Those are the words of a player who understands not only his role, but the role of one of his teammates.
Martinez came up to the plate and hit a 1-0 fastball the other way. He’s known to go to the opposite field often, so he’s perfectly suited to come up with a big hit at Yankee Stadium. The homer put the Red Sox ahead for good.
Now that he has his first big hit against the Yankees out of the way, the Red Sox can be that much more confident every time J.D. Martinez steps up to the plate in a big spot.