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Red Sox power past Astros to even series

Chas McCormick of the Houston Astros catches a ball in the first inning of Game Two of the American League
Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on Oct. 16, 2021 (October 17 in Manila) in Houston, Texas. AFP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES: J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers delivered a historic brace of grand slams to propel the Boston Red Sox to a 9-5 victory in Houston Saturday (Sunday in Manila) evening their American League Championship series at one game apiece.

Designated hitter Martinez came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning and launched a 1-0 fastball from Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia 363 feet into the right field stands to give the Red Sox a fast 4-0 lead.

It was the second home run of the 2021 post-season for Martinez, who missed the first two games of Boston’s playoff run with a sprained ankle.

Stunningly, the Red Sox — who fell 5-4 in a back-and-forth game one battle on Friday — doubled their lead in the second inning.

Garcia walked Kevin Plawecki to open the inning, then departed with right knee discomfort.

His replacement, Jake Odorizzi, gave up singles to Christian Arroyo and Enrique Hernandez to load the bases and Devers hit a 357-foot drive up the right field line that cleared the wall just inside of the foul pole for another grand slam.

It made Boston the first team in postseason history to hit two grand slams in one game.

Hernandez, the hottest hitter in these playoffs with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles, added a solo homer in the fourth inning to put the Red Sox up 9-0.

Houston finally got on the board with two outs in the fourth on Kyle Tucker’s two-out, run-scoring double.

Yuli Gurriel added a single to right field that scored two more runs to make it 9-3 through four innings.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Red Sox relief pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier came in and retired Jose Altuve for the final out.

The Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since they won the 2018 World Series, will try to ride the momentum when they host game three of the best-of-seven series on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

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