<
>

Kike Hernandez's 4 extra-base hits power Boston Red Sox's offensive outburst in Game 2 of ALDS

The Boston Red Sox offense knew they needed to pick up Chris Sale after the first inning on Friday night.

After being staked to a 2-0 lead, Boston's lefty ace -- coming off of Tommy John surgery -- did not have his best stuff against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing four hits and five earned runs in just one inning.

But behind Kike Hernandez, J.D. Martinez and reliever Tanner Houck -- who replaced Sale and retired 11 batters in a row -- Boston found a way to let their ace off the hook. The Red Sox became the first team in postseason history with 20 hits and five homers in a game as they rolled to a 14-6 victory over the Rays.

"We started one run at a time and started scoring and scoring until we were able to tie it, and then [Houck] kept them right there," Hernandez said.

Hern√°ndez led the way, going 5-for-6 with a homer and three doubles. He tied the MLB postseason record with four extra-base hits, becoming the fifth player all-time -- and the first since Albert Pujols in 2011 -- to pull off the feat.

Boston needed a mindset adjustment after the roller coaster of a first inning, and Alex Verdugo credited Cora with helping set the tone in the dugout.

"I just remember [Cora] is coming up and down the dugout," Verdugo said. "[He was saying], 'It's all right, we got a whole game. Eight more innings.'

Said Cora of his message: "Don't panic."

Two innings later, Boston chipped away with two runs to pull within 5-4. In the fifth, the Red Sox scored four more on homers from Hernandez and Martinez. By the time it had ended, Boston had 14 runs on the scoreboard.

Contributions came from up and down the lineup. On top of Hernandez's outburst at the plate, Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers went deep as the Red Sox tied their own franchise record for home runs in a postseason game.

In all, four Boston players recorded three hits and a home run -- the most such players to do so in a postseason game.

After the game on Friday, Rays manager Kevin Cash did not mince words while describing Boston's offensive performance.

"They kind of put it to us," Cash said.

Said Rays pitcher Collin McHugh: "They took advantage of mistakes."

The 14 runs were the most by a team that was shut out in a previous playoff game -- a 5-0 loss in Game 1. Boston also became the first postseason team to have six players drive in at least two runs since RBI became an official stat.

Prior to Friday, the Rays had been 73-3 this season, including the playoffs, when staked to a three-run lead. Boston's offense made sure the loss column ticked to four by night's end.

"We're all happy now," Verdugo said. "Riding high."