Even after getting swept by the Orioles at Fenway Park to kick off the 2021 season over the weekend, the Red Sox did not waver.
Since falling to Baltimore by a final score 11-3 on Sunday, Boston welcomed the reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays into town and routed them 11-2 on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Sox showed resiliency and staged three separate comebacks en route to pulling off a 6-5 walk-off win over the Rays in 12 innings on the back of J.D. Martinez’s game-winning two-run double.
In the span of just a few short days, the Red Sox have gone from getting dismantled by the team that projects to be the worst in their division to taking a three-game series from the defending American League champs.
This is the first time the Sox have won a home series against the Rays since August 2018.
“We did a good job. We didn’t stop playing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his team’s come-from-behind victory Tuesday night. “That’s the mark of a good team. We didn’t look great at one point, but we kept fighting and we kept them within distance. The pitching staff did an amazing job. We made some plays.
“We won the series,” he continued. “We won the series against the defending American League champions. It’s a good bounce-back from what happened this weekend and we have the chance to sweep them tomorrow.”
Martinez, who went 2-for-6 at the plate with three RBI on Tuesday, has been one of the catalysts behind the Sox’ recent two-game winning streak.
The 33-year-old slugger raised his OPS on the season to 1.522 following Tuesday’s showing, and he — like Cora — understands that having the chance to sweep a team like the Rays could prove to be quite beneficial in the long-run.
“Tampa Bay’s a really good team, so to take a series from them is big,” Martinez said. “But, we’re not looking at these two games. We need to go back out tomorrow and win tomorrow.”
At 2-3, the Sox still have a ways to go to reach the level of success they believe they can attain this year, but Tuesday’s performance against the Rays has the makings to be a step in the right direction towards achieving those goals.
“It was overall a great game,” Cora said. “And I think the most important thing out of this is that we won the series against the American League defending champions.”
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)