Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez named American League Player of the Week

Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez has been named American League Player of the Week for the week of April 5-11, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Over the course of five games against the Rays and Orioles this past week, Martinez slashed a sizzling .458/.500/1.125 with four home runs and 13 RBI.

The 33-year-old slugger missed one of his team’s six games as a result of being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on Saturday, but that absence would wind up being very short.

Returning to Boston’s lineup for their series finale against Baltimore on Sunday, Martinez went 4-for-6 at the plate while clubbing three home runs, collecting four RBI, and scoring four times.

By capping off his weekend with that dominant performance at Camden Yards, the three-time All-Star became just the fifth player in major-league history to put together a three-homer game for three different teams (Tigers, Diamondbacks, Red Sox).

Taking this past weekend’s showing into consideration, Martinez now owns a slash line of .472/.500/1.083 to go along with five home runs and 16 RBI through his first eight games and 38 plate appearances of the young season.

“He’s locked in, you can tell,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Martinez’s torrid start. “He is walking around talking hitting. This is a guy I saw in ‘18 and ‘19, he has an idea of what he wants to do. He doesn’t deviate from his process. I know he talked about last year and he’s on a mission to prove people wrong, but it was only 60 games. He was one month away from getting his numbers right. Right now, he’s locked in and I’m glad he’s swinging the bat the way he is.”

For as dismal a 2020 campaign Martinez had (.680 OPS in 54 games), the first week-plus of the 2021 season has been encouraging to say the least.

Despite the record-setting start in which he has recorded an extra-base hit in eight straight games, though, Martinez himself tries not to pay too much attention to it.

“Honestly, for me, I don’t even notice it. I really try not to,” he said on Sunday. “You guys know how I am. I repeat the same things over and over to you guys. I think the moment you’re aware of it, you’re no longer in it. So I try to not be aware of it and just focus on the small tasks. Focus on my game plan off certain pitchers and what I’m trying to do. That’s how I kind of control the whole thing.”

Martinez taking home American League Player of the Week honors marks the first time a member of the Red Sox has done so since Rafael Devers in August 2019.

On the National League side of things, Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history against the Rangers on Friday.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez hits 3 home runs against Orioles: ‘Right now, he’s locked in and I’m glad he’s swinging the bat the way he is,’ Alex Cora says

J.D. Martinez woke up in Baltimore on Sunday morning without knowing if he would be in the Red Sox lineup later that afternoon.

After coming down with cold-like symptoms on Saturday, Martinez was placed in Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocol, which forced him to miss that night’s contest against the Orioles.

The 33-year-old took a rapid and PCR test on Saturday and tested negative for COVID both times, which ultimately cleared him to return to action on Sunday.

Still, for Martinez, who is asthmatic and as a result is vulnerable to high pollen counts, the last two days or so have been frustrating to say the least.

“It’s human nature. You’re going to feel a little thing here and there,” Martinez said during his postgame media availability Sunday. “It’s kind of the world we’re living in right now where every little thing everyone thinks is COVID. So it was frustrating, obviously, not being able to play yesterday. But I know we did everything we could to have me back today.”

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “pollen is a common allergen that can cause allergic asthma.”

On Saturday, the pollen count in Baltimore was 9.7, which is regarded as a high count. On Sunday, the pollen count fell to 6.6, which is regarded as medium, per Pollen.com.

“With the allergies here, the pollen has been like ridiculously high the last few days,” said Martinez. “It’s like a 10 out of 10, which I think is really messing me up. And my lungs are just always sensitive to sudden changes and stuff just because I have pretty bad asthma. Besides that, I felt OK. Obviously it was still bugging me. Still is. Kind of ready to get on the plane and go somewhere else.”

Despite dealing with allergies, Martinez picked up where he left off on Friday by clubbing three home runs and collecting four RBI as part of a 4-6 effort at the plate while batting out of the three-hole Sunday.

The Red Sox topped the Orioles by a final score of 14-9 to complete the three-game sweep over their division rivals at Camden Yards.

The two times he did not reach base, Martinez struck out, once against Orioles starter Jorge Lopez in the top half of the first and again against O’s reliever Paul Fry in the ninth.

“After that first at-bat, I felt like everything sped up on me,” Martinez explained. “And then I went to the cage and was like, ‘All right, we need to dial this up. We need to get it going. Wake up.’ After that, I felt a lot more in-control and I felt pretty good.”

Martinez was indeed in control from that point forward, as the three home runs he hit off Lopez, Mac Scelorer, and Tyler Wells traveled 372 feet, 382 feet, and 430 feet, respectively.

By the time he came to the plate for his final at-bat of the afternoon, Martinez was gunning to put together his first four-homer game since 2017 and adopted an aggressive approach in order to do so. He wound up striking out on a 3-2 slider from Fry that was well below the strike zone.

“Yeah, pretty much,” responded Martinez when asked if he was swinging at that full-count pitch regardless of its location. “In that moment I was like, ‘I really don’t think he’s going to throw me a strike, but I have to take the chance, just to at least foul it off if it’s a really good pitch. Hopefully he hangs something.”

Fry did not wind up hanging something and Martinez wound up fanning as a result, but the right-handed hitter still managed to extend his extra-base hit streak to nine consecutive games well before doing so.

Through his first eight games of the season now, the three-time All-Star is slashing .472/.500/1.083 with a team-high five homers and 16 RBI over 38 plate appearances.

“He’s locked in. You can tell,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Martinez’s hot start to the 2021 campaign. “He is walking around talking hitting. This is a guy I saw in ‘18 and ‘19, he has an idea of what he wants to do. He doesn’t deviate from his process… He studies himself, he studies the opposition, and he’s in a good place.

“I know he talked about last year and he’s on a mission to prove people wrong, but it was only 60 games,” added Cora. “He was one month away from getting his numbers right. Right now, he’s locked in and I’m glad he’s swinging the bat the way he is.”

For Martinez, though, what he is doing at the plate right now is nothing out of the ordinary from his point of view.

“Honestly, for me, I don’t even notice it. I really try not to,” he said. “You guys know how I am. I repeat the same things over and over to you guys. I think the moment you’re aware of it, you’re no longer in it. So I try to not be aware of it and just focus on the small tasks. Focus on my game plan off certain pitchers and what I’m trying to do. That’s how I kind of control the whole thing.”

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers combine for 6 homers as Red Sox tee off on Orioles, 14-9, to complete sweep and pick up sixth straight win

In the span of a week, the Red Sox of have gone from getting swept by the Orioles in their ballpark to sweeping the Orioles in their own ballpark.

Following a 14-7 victory over Baltimore at Camden Yards on Sunday, Boston extended its winning streak to six consecutive games after sweeping the first leg of their seven-game road trip.

J.D. Martinez leads the way with three homers

After being held out of action on Saturday while in Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocol, J.D. Martinez made his return to the Red Sox lineup felt upon getting reinstated from the COVID-related injured list on Sunday.

The 33-year-old slugger went 4-for-6 with three home runs, four runs driven in, and four runs scored batting out of the three-hole.

The three homers, which came off Orioles starter Jorge Lopez and relievers Mac Sceroler and Taylor Wells, traveled 372 feet, 382 feet, and 430 feet, respectively.

Martinez’s first multi-homer game of the year and his first three-homer game as a member of the Red Sox brought the right-handed hitter’s season home run total up to five.

Devers homers twice, Verdugo once

While Martinez led the way for the Sox in the power department on Sunday, the three-time All-Star was not alone in regards to taking the ball out of the park.

That being the case because a pair of left-handed hitters — Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo — combined to go deep three times off O’s pitching to close out the weekend.

Devers, who came into the day having homered in each of his team’s first two games of the weekend, extended that personal streak to three games by clubbing a 424-foot two-run shot off Sceroler in the fifth.

The 24-year-old also crushed a solo homer 439 feet to deep center field off Orioles right-hander in the eighth to up his season total to four.

Verdugo, meanwhile, actually got the Sox on the board first when after Franchy Cordero and Enrique Hernandez led off the third with a pair of singles, the 24-year-old outfielder got revenge on Lopez after getting plunked in the leg in his first trip to the plate.

He got his revenge on Lopez by depositing a 400-foot three-run blast to the opposite field.

Verdugo’s first big fly of the 2021 campaign gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Martinez would follow with his first of three homers on the day, and Boston would not have to look back from there.

Pivetta remains unbeaten

Nick Pivetta has yet to lose a start as a member of the Red Sox. That trend continued on Sunday when the 28-year-old allowed four earned runs on seven hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts over six innings of work.

To say things went smoothly for Pivetta in this one would be a stretch, but the right-hander was able to limit the damage by putting his body on the line and tagging Freddy Galvis out at home for the final out of the third inning.

From there, Pivetta seemed to be on his way to putting six innings of one-run ball but a former Phillies teammate of his had different plans.

With one out and runners on the corners in the sixth, Maikel Franco took Pivetta deep to left for a three-run shot.

That presumably left a sour taste in Pivetta’s mouth, but the 6-foot-5 hurler was able to finish the inning and later picked up his second winning decision of the season. His next start should come against the White Sox back at Fenway Park on Friday.

Bullpen bends, but does not break

In relief of Pivetta, Austin Brice walked the first two hitters he faced in the seventh before serving up a three-run blast to Trey Mancini.

Hirokazu Sawamura had to come on to finish the seventh, and the righty worked his way around a two-out walk over a scoreless frame of relief in the eighth as well.

Phillips Valdez wrapped things up, though he gave up two runs needed 36 pitches (21 strikes) to do so and preserve the 14-19 victory for his side.

Next up: Perez vs. Happ

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head to Minnesota to begin a four-game series against the dangerous Twins.

Monday’s series opener will include a starting pitching matchup that features two veteran left-handers, with Martin Perez getting the ball for Boston and J.A. Happ doing the same for Minnesota.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be going for their seventh straight win.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo, Franchy Cordero, and Enrique Hernandez: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox activate J.D. Martinez from COVID-19 related injured list, option Michael Chavis

Before wrapping up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday, the Red Sox reinstated designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez from the COVID-19 related injured list and optioned infielder Michael Chavis to the alternate training site.

Martinez was initially placed on the COVID-related IL on Saturday after waking up with cold-like symptoms.

Because of those symptoms, the 33-year-old slugger had to enter MLB’s COVID-19 protocol, which required him to test negative twice before being cleared to return to baseball activities. He took both a rapid and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.

In Martinez’s place, the Sox recalled Chavis, who was traveling with the team as part of their five-man taxi squad, from the alternate training site.

The 25-year-old was used as a pinch-runner in his 2021 debut on Saturday night, as he ran for Kevin Plawecki and was placed at second base to begin the top of the 10th inning.

He wound up scoring the go-ahead run after advancing to third on a flyout and coming into score from third on a wild pitch from Orioles reliever Dillon Tate.

While he was technically optioned to the alternate training site, Chavis will remain on the Red Sox’ taxi squad for the remainder of the team’s first road trip of the season.

Martinez, meanwhile, is starting at designated hitter and batting out of the three-hole for Boston as they go for their sixth straight win in their series finale against Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place J.D. Martinez on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Michael Chavis

The Red Sox have placed designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced before Saturday’s game against the Orioles.

In a corresponding move, the Sox recalled infielder Michael Chavis from the alternate training site.

Martinez, 33, was initially held out of Saturday’s contest against Baltimore due to his feeling under the weather and experiencing cold symptoms.

Because of those symptoms, Martinez had to be placed in MLB’s COVID-19 protocol, which requires two negative COVID tests before he is cleared to return to baseball activities.

The three-time All-Star has already taken a rapid test and will need to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as well.

The Red Sox seem confident that Martinez only has a cold and will be ready to go on Sunday after testing negative twice.

“From our end, we do believe he’s going to be back with us tomorrow,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during his pregame media availability on Saturday.

In Martinez’s place, Chavis has been called up from the Sox’ alternate training site. The 25-year-old infielder had been one of five players traveling with the team as part of their taxi squad for the first road trip of the season.

Catcher Chris Herrmann, outfielder Cesar Puello, and pitchers Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber are the other four players who comprise Boston’s taxi squad.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez in MLB’s COVID-19 protocol due to cold symptoms

J.D. Martinez will not play in Saturday’s game against the Orioles. The slugger is under the weather and is dealing with cold symptoms, which resulted in him being placed in MLB’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Red Sox, however, do not feel that Martinez has COVID.

“With J.D., he’s under the weather,” Sox manager Alex Cora said during his pregame media availability Saturday. “He has cold symptoms. So the protocol has been activated. We’ll have more information throughout the night or tomorrow morning. We feel pretty confident that he’ll be able to be with us tomorrow. But obviously, we have to wait.”

Per the league’s health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, Martinez must test negative twice before being cleared to return to baseball activities. The 33-year-old has already taken a rapid COVID test and has taken or will take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

“I spoke to J.D.,” said Cora. “Obviously, we never know with the virus, but he feels pretty confident that it’s just a regular cold.”

There is a chance that the Red Sox could place Martinez on the COVID-related injured list before Saturday’s game and still have him available to play on Sunday.

In that scenario, Boston would activate one of the five taxi squad players who are currently traveling with the team for their first road trip of the season. Chris Herrmann, Michael Chavis, Cesar Puello, Colten Brewer, and Ryan Weber are those five players.

Again, Martinez’s absence would likely only last one day, as the Sox appear confident that the three-time All-Star just has a cold, not COVID-19.

“From our end, we do believe he’s going to be back with us tomorrow,” Cora said.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodríguez fans seven over 5 strong innings in first start since 2019; Rafael Devers and Kiké Hernández collect first homers of season as Red Sox top Orioles, 7-3, for fourth straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez picked up on Thursday where he left off 557 days ago.

The left-hander’s last start of the 2019 season came against the Orioles, and he allowed three runs over seven strong innings in that contest.

After missing the entirety of the 2020 season due to myocarditis, Rodriguez finally made his long-awaited return to a big-league mound on Thursday in Baltimore.

Working against the O’s in their home opener, the recently-turned 28-year-old again held Baltimore to three runs — this time over five innings — while scattering four hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

All three runs Rodriguez surrendered on Thursday came by way of the home run ball, with Ryan Mountcastle crushing a two-run homer in the first and Pedro Severino clubbing a solo shot off the lefty in the fourth.

From that point on, though, Rodriguez did manage to retire each of the final four hitters he faced in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (56 strikes), the Venezuelan hurler sat at 91-95 mph with his four-seam fastball — a pitch he threw 13 times — while also inducing four swings-and-misses with his changeup — a pitch he threw 25 times.

Able to pick up his first winning decision of the year because of his triumphant effort, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Twins next Wednesday.

Whitlock, Barnes sharp out of the bullpen

In relief of Rodriguez, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. The 24-year-old followed up his impressive big-league debut from last weekend by punching out three of the six Orioles he faced over two perfect frames of work to pick up his first career hold.

Matt Andriese, who helped Whitlock develop his changeup over the course of spring training, maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk and one-out single to toss a scoreless eighth.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, was on the cusp of an immaculate inning (nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts) in the ninth, but he still struck out the side on 11 pitches anyway to preserve the 7-3 victory for his side.

Devers gets on the board with first homer

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles right-hander Matt Harvey, whom they had just seen last weekend.

Following a one-out double from Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for the Sox right away by mashing his first home run of the season — a two-run shot — off Harvey to give his side the early 2-0 advantage.

Per Baseball Savant, Devers’ first big fly of 2021 left his bat at 111 mph and traveled approximately 452 feet to deep center field.

Retaking the lead and adding on some insurance

Harvey managed to hold the Boston bats in check after giving up that Devers homer, and him doing that coincided with the Orioles jumping out to a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning.

In the sixth, though, the Orioles starter put the first two hitters he faced — Devers and Christian Vazquez — on base on a pair of singles, and that would lead to his exit from this contest.

Matched up against lefty reliever Paul Fry now, Marwin Gonzalez drew a six-pitch walk, which allowed Christian Arroyo and Franchy Cordero to plate a pair of runs on an RBI groundout and RBI single.

Verdugo sparked more offense in the seventh, as he collected his second double of the afternoon and later scored on a two-base hit off the bat of a red-hot J.D. Martinez — marking the seventh straight game the vaunted slugger has reached base on an extra-base hit out of the gate.

That sequence put the Red Sox up two at 5-3, and Gonzalez added on to that with a run-scoring single of his own to make it a 6-3 contest going into stretch time.

Kiké Hernández comes through with first home run

Devers was not the only member of the Red Sox to notch his first homer of the year on Thursday, as Kiké Hernández did the very same in the top half of the eighth.

On a 2-2, 86 mph slider from Orioles reliever Tyler Wells, the 29-year-old pulled said pitch 372 feet to left field for his first home run in a Sox uniform.

Hernández’s 72nd career homer put the Red Sox up 7-3, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Next up: An off day

Now winners of four straight after starting the season 0-3, the Sox will enjoy an off day on Friday before they look to keep things rolling against the O’s on Saturday.

Right-hander Garrett Richards is slated to get the ball for Boston in that contest, and he will be matched up against rookie left-hander Bruce Zimmermann for Baltimore.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi hurls 7 strong innings, Christian Vazquez crushes another homer as Red Sox complete sweep of Rays with 9-2 win in series finale

The Red Sox had nowhere to go but up after getting swept by the Orioles over the weekend, and up they went in the process of completing a three-game sweep of the Rays with a commanding 9-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Eovaldi tosses seven solid frames

Nathan Eovaldi led the way in his second start of the season, tossing seven innings of one-run ball while scattering just three hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

After giving up that one run on an RBI single in the third, the veteran right-hander retired 11 of the final 15 hitters he faced from the fourth inning on.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (60 strikes), Eovaldi relied on his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing eight swings-and-misses while topping out at 99 mph with the pitch.

Ultimately picking up his first winning winning decision of the season, the 31-year-old hurler was named the YouTube Player of the Game for his efforts. His next start should come against the Twins in Minnesota next week.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor wrapped things up by allowing one run over the final two innings of Wednesday’s contest to preserve the 9-2 win for his side.

Martinez, Bogaerts, Vazquez lead the way offensively

A Yoshi Tsutsugo RBI single gave the Rays an early 1-0 lead in the third inning, but the Boston bats responded with three runs of their own an inning later.

Xander Bogaerts knotted things up at one by driving in Rafael Devers on a line-drive, run-scoring single to center field off Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, then Christian Vazquez took things into his own hands a few moments later.

Starting at designated hitter after catching all 12 innings on Tuesday, Vazquez crushed his second home run of the season — and second in as many days — off a 2-1, 83 mph cutter from Yarbrough at the top of the strike zone.

Vazquez’s 376-foot blast over the Green Monster gave the Sox a 3-1 advantage.

Aided by a two-run double from a red-hot J.D. Martinez, Bogaerts, Vazquez, Hunter Renfroe, and Christian Vazquez combined to tack on four additional insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth with some help from some sloppy fielding from the Rays.

By the time Arroyo drove in Renfroe on an RBI double to shallow right field, the Red Sox had jumped out to a 9-2 lead, which would be more than enough to secure a 9-2, series-sweeping win on Wednesday.

Next up: First road trip of the season

After salvaging their first homestand of the year to improve to 3-3 through their first six games, the Red Sox will head to Baltimore for the first leg of a two-city, seven-game road trip.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his first start of the season in Thursday’s opener against the Orioles, and he will be matched up against veteran right-hander Matt Harvey.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

By taking series from Rays, Red Sox take step forward

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)

J.D. Martinez comes through with walk-off double as Red Sox top Rays, 6-5, in 12 innings for first series win of season

In the span of four innings, J.D. Martinez went from zero to hero for the Red Sox in their contest against the Rays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

After committing a costly baserunning blunder while representing the tying run in the bottom half of the eighth, the 33-year-old slugger had the chance to redeem himself later on well into extra innings.

With two outs and two runners on in a 5-4 game in the 12th, Martinez — matched up against Rays reliever Ryan Thompson — drilled a flyball over the head of an outstretched Randy Arozarena in right field plenty deep enough to plate both Hunter Renfroe and Alex Verdugo to give the Sox their first walk-off victory of the season with a 6-5 win.

Martinez, who finished the day 2-for-6 with three RBI, stays hot and is now slashing .476/.522/1.000 through his first five games of the year.

Martin Perez tosses five-plus solid frames

Well before Tuesday’s late-night drama, Martin Perez made his first start of the new campaign.

Working five-plus innings, the veteran left-hander surrendered three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts. The second walk he gave up came with no outs in the top half of the sixth, and it marked the end of his outing.

Of the 92 pitches Perez threw on Tuesday, 52 went for strikes. The Venezuelan hurler also mixed in 29 cutters, 21 changeups, 19 sinkers, 15 curveballs, and eight fastballs on his way to picking up the no-decision. His next start should come against the Twins sometime next week.

Matt Barnes dazzles with two perfect innings of relief

After Austin Brice, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Darwinzon Hernandez managed to keep Tampa Bay off the scoreboard through the end of the eighth inning, Matt Barnes was called in for the ninth as he was tasked with holding the Rays at three runs.

Making just his second relief appearance of the year, the flame-throwing righty did exactly that by retiring the side in order in the ninth and then doing the same in the 10th after the Sox had knotted things up.

In total, Barnes struck out four of the six batters he faced and induced six swings-and-misses in the process of doing so.

Tanner Houck, Phillips Valdez close things out

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said before Tuesday’s game that rookie right-hander Tanner Houck would be available to pitch out of the bullpen against the Rays.

Having just thrown 85 pitches in his start against the Orioles over the weekend, it seemed unlikely that the 24-year-old would be used in this one, but he was after all.

With a runner on second base to start each extra inning, Houck wound up surrendering the go-ahead run to the very first hitter he faced in Willy Adames, who ripped an RBI double down the left field line to give his side a 4-3 edge.

Houck did manage to escape the top half of the 11th without giving anything else up, though fellow righty Phillips Valdez fell victim to the unearned run himself an inning later.

All in all, Sox pitching combined to yield five runs (three earned) on eight hits, five walks, and 13 strikeouts on Tuesday night.

Christian Vazquez comes through in the clutch

Before Martinez’s late-inning heroics, the Boston bats were finding it difficult to score runs just one night after plating 11 in their first win of the season.

Facing off against vaunted Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow, the only run the Sox managed to bring across over the first seven innings came when Christian Arroyo scored from third on a wild pitch.

Martinez tacked on the first of his three RBI with a run-scoring double in the eighth off Pete Fairbanks in the eighth, then it was Christian Vazquez’s time to shine in the ninth.

Going into his fourth plate appearance of the night without a hit, Vazquez did not waste any time in greeting new Rays reliever Diego Castillo, as he led the bottom of the ninth off by crushing a solo shot 383 feet well over the Green Monster for his first big fly of the season.

That moonshot would pull the Red Sox back even with the Rays at three runs apiece, and it would ultimately set up the Martinez walk-off later on in the 12th.

Franchy Cordero makes leaping grab in left field

One key moment that cannot be lost in the shuffle of Tuesday’s drama was the play Franchy Cordero made to end the top half of the seventh inning.

With one out in the frame and runners on first and second, Rays centerfielder Manuel Margot lifted a flyball to left that was on the cusp of bouncing off the Monster before a leaping Franchy Cordero robbed the former Red Sox prospect of extra-bases.

There was some confusion as to whether Cordero caught the ball or trapped it against the left field wall, and that confusion allowed the outfielder to double off one of the runners — Arozarena — at second base to end the inning.

The Rays disputed the call on the field by challenging it, but it was upheld by replay review.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Yarbrough

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series on Wednesday afternoon, so it’s certainly a quick turnaround.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on YouTube. Yes, you read that correctly. YouTube.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)