Red Sox crush 5 homers, collect 20 hits in 14-6 rout of Rays to even ALDS at 1-1

It was a back-and-forth kind of affair, but the Red Sox were once again able to battle their way back for a potentially pivotal win over the Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Despite putting themselves in an early hole, Boston bested Tampa Bay by a final score of 14-6 at Tropicana Field on Friday night to even this best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Coming off a Game 1 showing in which they were shut out in a postseason game for the first time in five years, the Red Sox lineup jumped all over Rays rookie starter Shane Baz to begin things in Game 2.

Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the first inning by drawing a four-pitch walk before moving up to third base on a ground-ball double from Enrique Hernandez.

Rafael Devers struck out on five pitches for the first out of the fifth, but Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo each followed by getting their productive nights at the plate started with back-to-back run-scoring singles.

The first instance of the Bogaerts-Verdugo combination at work gave the Red Sox an immediate 2-0 lead as Chris Sale took the mound, though it did not last long.

Sale, like Eduardo Rodriguez before him, was not long for his first postseason start since 2018. That being the case because the veteran left-hander surrendered five runs — all of which were earned — on four hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

On his first two pitches of the first inning, the Rays put runners on first and second on a pair of quick singles. Sale then issued a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz to fill the bases before giving up an RBI single to Yandy Diaz.

Diaz’s base hit pushed across the Rays’ first run of the night while also re-filling the bases for Jordan Luplow, who was primarily in Tampa Bay’s lineup to face of against left-handed pitching.

Sale, in turn, proceeded to serve up a towering, 387-foot grand slam to the right-handed hitting Luplow that saw Boston’s 2-1 lead turn into a 5-2 defecit.

On the heels of giving up that impactful of a hit, Sale’s day was done as soon as he recorded the final out of the first inning. The 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 30 (20 strikes) and induced just three swings-and-misses in total.

Having to turn to his bullpen earlier than anticipated for the second straight day, Red Sox manager Alex Cora handed things over to Tanner Houck in the middle of the second inning, and that decision proved to be quite beneficial.

After Houck retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, the aforementioned Bogaerts-Verdugo combination struck again in the top of the third, as the All-Star shortstop clubbed a one-out solo shot to knock Baz out of the game while the fiery outfielder greeted new reliever Collin McHugh by crushing a home run of his own.

The back-to-back blasts off the bats of Bogaerts and Verdugo cut Tampa Bay’s deficit down to one run at 5-4. Houck, in return, kept the score just like that by putting up two more zeroes in the third and fourth innings.

In the top half of the fifth, Hernandez provided some power, as he led the frame off by taking McHugh 393 feet deep to left field on a hanging slider to pull his side back even with the opposition at 5-5.

Hernandez’s homer was only a precursor of what was to come in the fifth, though, with Devers and Bogaerts each reaching base before J.D. Martinez made his impact felt in his return to the lineup by tattooing a go-ahead, three-run home run over everything in center field.

Martinez’s three-run blast, which came off Matt Wisler and traveled 412 feet off his bat, broke a 5-5 stalemate and gave the Sox their first lead since the first inning at 8-5 going into the halfway point.

Houck, meanwhile, was in the process of stringing together an impressive run of his own. Going back to his final start of the regular season against the Nationals last Saturday, the righty sat down 29 straight hitters before allowing a two-out single to Wander Franco in the bottom of the fifth.

From there, Houck got through the fifth before serving up a solo shot to Ji-Man Choi an inning later, though he wrapped up his evening on a high note and — in the end — gave up just that one run while scattering two hits, zero walks, and five strikeouts in his five innings of relief.

Christian Vazquez, who had been catching Houck, got one of those runs back when he drove in Verdugo on a ground-ball RBI single in the top of the seventh before being behind the plate while Ryan Brasier punched out the side in the bottom half.

Devers, sore right arm and all, added on to Boston’s lead in the eighth inning when he — while matched up against Michael Wacha — scored Hernandez and demolished a 425-foot two-run home run over the center field wall.

The Red Sox went up 11-6 on Devers’ home run. It was also Boston’s fifth homer of the night, which sets a new franchise record for the most hit in a single postseason game.

Hansel Robles took over for Brasier and preserved an 11-6 lead with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, while Vazquez tacked on one more on another RBI single.

Hernandez, meanwhile, capped off his stellar night by putting the finishing touches on his first-ever five-hit game (in the regular and postseas0n). He plated both Hunter Renfroe and Vazquez on a two-run single that made it a 14-6 game.

Given a sizable cushion to work with now, Matt Barnes — who was just added to the ALDS roster in place of Garrett Richards on Friday — slammed the door on the Rays in the bottom half of the ninth to lock up a 14-6 victory.

With the win, the Red Sox pull even with the Rays in this best-of-five series and now have the opportunity to win it back at home.

Red Sox lineup breaks out in a tremendous way

Out of the No. 2 spot on Friday, Enrique Hernandez went 5-for-6 with three doubles, one home run, three RBI, and three runs scored. He becomes the first Red Sox player to ever record four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez (Boston’s Nos. 4, 5, and 6 hitters) went a combined 10-for-15 with one double, three home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored.

Verdugo, starting in left field, also made a nice catch in foul territory to prevent Nelson Cruz from extending his at-bat against Tanner Houck in the sixth inning.

Houck earns win

Tanner Houck earned his first career postseason win in Friday’s win. He has essentially been lights out since the calendar flipped to October.

Next up: Eovaldi on tap for Game 3

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston, enjoy an off day on Saturday, then resume this ALDS with the Rays at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston in Game 3, while fellow righty Drew Rasmussen will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on MLB Network.

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock closing out Wild Card Game win for Red Sox a fitting way for Yankees’ season to end

At this time one year ago, Garrett Whitlock was still a member of the Yankees organization.

While still recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent the previous July, Whitlock — then a prospect — was left off the Yankees’ 40-man roster as the November 20 deadline to add eligible minor-leaguers came and went.

As a result, Whitlock was to be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft the following month. And despite only having pitched 70 1 /3 innings above the High-A level since being drafted in 2017, the right-hander was scooped up by the Red Sox in said draft on December 10.

Fast forward 10 month later, and Whitlock was presented with the opportunity to end his former team’s 2021 season on the biggest of stages under the bright lights at Fenway Park.

After putting together a fantastic rookie season in which he posted a 1.96 ERA, 2.84 FIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 81-17 over 46 relief appearances spanning 73 1/3 frames of work, Whitlock was called upon in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees.

Having just been activated from the 10-day injured list two days prior, the 25-year-old hurler was tasked by Red Sox manager Alex Cora to record the final three outs of the night.

Working with a five-run lead to protect while taking over for Hansel Robles, Whitlock got the first batter he faced in Aaron Judge to ground out to Xander Bogaerts at shortstop.

He then yielded a solo shot to Giancarlo Stanton that cut New York’s deficit to four runs, but bounced back by retiring Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres in order to put the finishing touches on a 6-2 Wild Card victory for the Red Sox.

In closing things out on just eight pitches (seven strikes) in the top of the ninth, not only did Whitlock send the Sox to the American League Division Series; he eliminated the Yankees from the postseason as well.

For as humble as he is, it’s unlikely Whitlock would say anything about Tuesday’s win meaning more since it sent his former team home packing. Still, as a competitor, there has to be some level of gratification upon successfully dashing the hopes of the organization that essentially gave up on you not too long ago.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber both homer as Red Sox defeat Yankees, 6-2, in American League Wild Card Game

No J.D. Martinez? No problem. With their star slugger nursing an ankle sprain, the Red Sox took care of business against the Yankees on Tuesday night.

In the first-ever American League Wild Card Game to be played at Fenway Park, Boston held on for a 6-2 victory over New York to eliminate their division rivals from the postseason.

Matched up against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to begin things on Tuesday, a Martinez-less Sox lineup got the scoring started right away — or with two outs in the bottom of the first inning to be more precise.

On the heels of a six-pitch walk drawn by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts followed by taking Cole deep on a 2-1, 89 mph changeup that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Bogaerts took that tantalizing pitch and crushed a two-run home run 427 feet to dead center field, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-0 on his third career postseason homer.

Kyle Schwarber tacked on another run to Boston’s early lead two innings later, as he led off the bottom of the third with a 435-foot solo blast that left his bat at a scorching 110.3 mph.

Schwarber’s first October home run in a Red Sox uniform put his side up 3-0, and it also marked the end of the line for Cole after the righty put two more runners on in the third inning without recording an out.

Unlike Cole, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi was locked in on Tuesday night. In what was his first postseason start in nearly three years, Eovaldi limited his former team in the Yankees to just one run on four hits and zero walks to go along with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 strong innings of work.

The veteran right-hander kicked off his outing by retiring 16 of the first batters he faced, taking a shutout bid into the top of the sixth before the New York lineup flipped over for a third time.

After getting Rougned Odor (pinch-hitting for No. 9 hitter Andrew Velazquez) to punch out for the first out of the frame, Eovaldi served up a solo shot that wrapped around Pesky’s Pole in right field to Yankees leadoff man Anthony Rizzo, thus making it a 3-1 game. He then yielded an infield single to Aaron Judge to bring the tying run to the plate.

Taking no chances with the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton looming in the on-deck circle, Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to his bullpen right then and there, as he gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, in turn, gave up a hard-hit, 114.9 mph single to Stanton that bounced off the Green Monster and was corralled by Enrique Hernandez in center field. Judge attempted to score all the way from first base on the play, but was instead thrown out at the plate after Hernandez threw the ball in to Bogaerts and Bogaerts gunned him down to complete the relay.

So, instead of having runners at second and third with one out, the Yankees had just one runner at second (Stanton moved up from first) with two outs. Brasier, in the process of officially closing the book on Eovaldi’s night, capitalized on that by getting Joey Gallo to pop out to retire the side in the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (54 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday. Of the 35 four-seamers the 31-year-old hurler threw, six induced a swing-and-miss.

A half-inning later, the Red Sox got the lone run Eovaldi surrendered right back while Luis Severino was pitching for the Yankees.

With one out and a runner on first following a Bogaerts walk, Alex Verdugo came through with his first of two clutch hits on the night. He first drove in Bogaerts all the way from first on a line-drive RBI double to right field that gave Boston a 4-1 lead.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Tanner Houck, Verdugo delivered once more, this time coming up to the plate with two outs, the bases full, and the opportunity to put this one away.

On the second pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Chad Green, Verdugo did just that by drilling a two-run single back up the middle that brought in both Schwarber and Hernandez to make it a 6-1 contest in favor of Boston.

From there, Hansel Robles tossed a perfect inning of relief on the eighth to make way for Garrett Whitlock in the ninth.

Whitlock, despite giving up a solo homer to Stanton, somewhat fittingly closed the door on the Yankees’ season. The righty recorded the final three outs of the ninth to preserve a 6-2 Wild Card victory for the Sox.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox eliminate the Yankees, but they also advance to the American League Division Series. Boston will open a best-of-five series with the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox unveil lineup for Wild Card Game vs. Yankees: Kyle Schwarber leads off while Bobby Dalbec starts at first base

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the Red Sox are hosting the American League Wild Card Game against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

It took until the final day of the regular season on Sunday, but the Sox finished ahead of the Yankees in the Wild Card standings despite both clubs having identical records (92-70) on account of winning the season series against their division rivals, 10-9.

Because of this, the 2021 installment of the American League Wild Card Game will be taking place in Boston as opposed to New York, meaning the Red Sox will have home-field advantage.

With ace right-hander Gerrit Cole starting for the Yankees, the left-handed hitting Kyle Schwarber will serve as the Sox manager Alex Cora’s leadoff leadoff hitter Tuesday night. He will be doing so while serving as the club’s designated hitter, as J.D. Martinez was left off Boston’s Wild Card roster due to a left ankle sprain.

Enrique Hernandez will start in center field and bat behind Schwarber, marking the first time all year the 30-year-old has started a game as the Sox’ No. 2 hitter after primarily batting leadoff throughout the regular season.

On account of Martinez’s absence from the roster, it will be third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and left fielder Alex Verdugo comprising the Nos. 3, 4, and 5 spots.

Hunter Renfroe rounds out the outfield and the middle third of Boston’s lineup, as the strong-armed 29-year-old gets the start in right field while batting sixth behind Verdugo and ahead of Kevin Plawecki.

Plawecki will be catching right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to begin things on Tuesday. Over the course of the regular season, Eovaldi posted a 3.28 ERA and .644 OPS against in 17 starts (96 innings pitched) with Plawecki behind the plate as opposed to a 4.77 ERA and .766 OPS against in 13 starts (66 innings pitched) with Christian Vazquez doing the same.

After Plawecki, Bobby Dalbec will be getting the start at first base and batting eighth, while Christian Arroyo will be getting the start at second base and batting ninth.

Of these nine hitters, Bogaerts, Devers, Hernandez, Schwarber, Shaw, and Verdugo have all homered off Cole at least one time in either the regular or postseason.

Hernandez specifically is 5-for-11 (.455) in his career against Cole, as he took the Yankees ace deep back in June.

Additionally, the Red Sox will have the likes of Jonathan Arauz, Jarren Duran, Travis Shaw, and Connor Wong available off the bench if needed.

First pitch from Fenway Park Tuesday night is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox set roster for Wild Card Game vs. Yankees: J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale among those left off

The Red Sox have released their Wild Card Game roster, announcing the 26 players who will take the field for Tuesday night’s pivotal matchup against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

J.D. Martinez was among those who was left off the roster, as the veteran slugger sprained his left ankle in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Nationals.

While running out to take right field in the fifth inning of Sunday’s contest, Martinez tripped over the second-base bag and twisted his ankle as a result. The 34-year-old was able to remain in the game for the bottom of the fifth, but was pinch-hit for by Jose Iglesias a half-inning later.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, an MRI on Martinez’s sprained ankle revealed no structural damage, which is certainly encouraging. Still, it was not enough to clear the four-time All-Star to return to action.

In addition to Martinez, the Sox also left the likes of left-handers Chris Sale, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Martin Perez and right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura off the roster.

Sale had started Sunday’s season finale in Washington, needing 62 pitches to get through 2 1/3 innings of work. The 32-year-old ace tried to convince Red Sox manager Alex Cora he would be available if needed on Tuesday, but that did not work out in his favor.

With Hernandez and Perez not making the cut, it was somewhat surprising to see that Josh Taylor is on the roster. The left-handed reliever last pitched on September 22, shortly before being placed on the 10-day injured list on account of a low back strain on Sept. 26.

Joining Taylor in the Boston bullpen for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game will be Eduardo Rodriguez and Nick Pivetta, both of whom pitched in relief of Sale in Sunday’s victory over the Nationals.

On the flip side of things, the Red Sox added three players to their roster who had ended the 2021 regular season with Triple-A Worcester in catcher Connor Wong, infielder Jonathan Arauz, and outfielder Jarren Duran.

Wong will serve as Boston’s third catcher behind starter Kevin Plawecki and Christian Vazquez, while Arauz will serve as infield depth who has major-league experience at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Duran, on the other hand, could come off the bench at any time, as he represents the top pinch-running option the Sox have to offer on account of his elite speed.

Jose Iglesias, who had primarily been playing second base since joining the Red Sox last month, was left off the club’s Wild Card Game roster since he was ineligible to play in the postseason after not signing with Boston until after the August 31 deadline.

Because of this, Christian Arroyo will get the start at second base as the Sox go up against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night. Fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston.

Pitchers (12): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Austin Davis, Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Adam Ottavino, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards, Hansel Robles, Eduardo Rodriguez, Josh Taylor, Garrett Whitlock

Catchers (3): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez, Connor Wong

Infielders (6): Jonathan Araúz, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Travis Shaw

Outfielders (4): Jarren Duran, Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo

Infielder/Outfielders (1): Kiké Hernández

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo expected to start at second base for Red Sox in Wild Card Game against Yankees

From the time he was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on September 21 until the regular season ended on Sunday, Christian Arroyo appeared in a grand total of four games for the Red Sox.

Over those four games (one start), Arroyo accrued all of six plate appearances, as he went 1-for-6 with a single, walk, and three strikeouts during the final stretch of the 2021 campaign.

Despite that limited playing time, Arroyo will get the start at second base in Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees at Fenway Park. Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed as much when speaking to reporters on Monday.

In Arroyo’s absence, Boston had primarily relied on veteran infielder Jose Iglesias to fill the void at second base. Iglesias performed valiantly in that role, slashing .356/.406/.508 with four doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, and eight runs over 23 games and 64 plate appearances.

Because he signed with the Sox on September 6, though, Iglesias was deemed ineligible by Major League Baseball to play in the postseason since he joined a new organization after the August 31 deadline.

With that rule in mind, the Red Sox essentially have no choice but to roll with Arroyo — whose last start came on September 26 — in Tuesday’s contest against the Yankees.

Arroyo’s 2021 season marked his first full year with Boston, and it was also one that marked by three separate stints on the injured list (not including the COVID-related IL) on account of a left hand contusion, right knee contusion, and left hamstring strain.

Those injuries — as well as a bout with COVID — limited the 26-year-old to just 57 games this season, though he did prove to be effective when healthy by hitting .262/.324/.445 (106 wRC+) with 12 doubles, six homers, 25 RBI, 22 runs scored, one stolen base, eight walks, and 44 strikeouts over 181 trips to the plate.

Additionally, Arroyo provided the Sox with solid defense at second base, as he posted positive-five defensive runs saved as well as an ultimate zone rating of 2.2. across 387 innings at the position, per FanGraphs.

Taking that point into consideration, Arroyo’s ability to handle things at second base could prove useful on Tuesday, as the Yankees this season put up the fourth-highest groundball rate in the American League (43.4%) while also hitting into a league-leading 154 double plays.

On the flip of side that, the right-handed hitting Arroyo may not have had the best season against right-handed pitchers (.213/.302/.383), but he is 1-for-2 with an RBI single and strikeout in his career against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who will be starting for New York on Tuesday.

Although it’s unclear at this point where in the Red Sox lineup Arroyo will be hitting come Tuesday night, he has fared well against fastballs this season (.290 batting average, .505 slugging percentage). This, too, could prove beneficial since Cole relies heavily upon his four-seam fastball (47% of the time this season).

All that being said, Arroyo will be playing in his first career postseason game at the big-league level on Tuesday, so it’s safe to assume he is looking forward to that.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kevin Plawecki expected to start over Christian Vázquez, catch Nathan Eovaldi in Tuesday’s Wild Card Game vs. Yankees

When the Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park for Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees, it will most likely be Kevin Plawecki — not Christian Vazquez — catching starter Nathan Eovaldi.

While Vazquez clearly established himself as the Sox’ top catcher this season by leading all major-league backstops in innings caught (1,051 1/3), Plawecki forged a better repertoire with Eovaldi over the course of the 2021 campaign.

Of the team-leading 32 starts Eovaldi made for Boston this year, 17 came with Plawecki behind the plate and 13 came with Vazquez catching him. With Plawecki, the right-hander posted a 3.28 ERA and .644 OPS against over 96 innings of work. With Vazquez, on the other hand, he put up a significantly higher 4.77 ERA and .766 OPS against in 66 innings.

“Those two have done an amazing job together,” Red Sox manager Cora said Monday in regards to the Eovaldi-Plawecki battery. “Nothing against Christian, but they have been good. I think that’s just the answer. You know, offensively, I think both have done a good job lately. You know, Kevin can catch up with the fastball, too. We know that.”

Though Cora did mention that Vazquez will be ready in the event that he is needed Tuesday, the decision to start Plawecki speaks to the level of confidence the Sox have in their backup.

Despite some defensive concerns, the 30-year-old veteran enjoyed another productive season at the plate in which he slashed .287/.349/.389 (102 wRC+) with seven doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI, 15 runs scored, 12 walks, and 26 strikeouts over 64 games (173 plate appearances) in limited playing time.

As Cora alluded to, Plawecki did have success against the fastball this season, as he hit .280 and slugged .410 while clubbing all three of his homers off that particular pitch.

Plawecki’s ability to handle the fastball should come in handy on Tuesday with ace right-hander Gerrit Cole on the mound for New York to start things off. Per Baseball Savant, Cole relied on his four-seam fastball more than any other pitch this season by turning to it more than 47% of the time.

In seven games — four of which were starts — against the Yankees this year, the right-handed hitting Plawecki slashed an impressive .313/.389/.563 across 18 trips to the plate.

Against Cole specifically, Plawecki is 1-for-3 with a single and strikeout, though all three of those plate appearances came back in 2015 — when Plawecki was a rookie with the Mets and Cole was still with the Pirates.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki and Nathan Eovaldi: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez twists ankle in win over Nationals, leaving status for Wild Card Game against Yankees up in air

The Red Sox may have secured their spot in the American League Wild Card Game with a hard-fought, 7-5 win over the Nationals on Sunday night, but they lost J.D. Martinez to injury in the process of doing so.

Martinez, who got the start in right field for Sunday’s series finale with there being no designated hitter in a National League Ballpark, sustained a left ankle sprain in the middle of the fifth inning.

While jogging out from the visitor’s dugout to take his position, the 34-year-old slugger tripped over the second-base bag and came up lame as a result.

That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a team trainer to pay Martinez a visit in the outfield, though he was able to talk his way into staying in the game at that point.

After moving very slowly on Alex Avila’s two-run double to right field in the bottom of the fifth, however, Martinez’s day ultimately came to a close, as he was pinch-hit for by Jose Iglesias in the top of the sixth and replaced by Hunter Renfroe in right in the bottom of the frame.

Following Sunday’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory over the Nationals, Cora provided an update on Martinez, who was at least able to celebrate with his teammates despite being hobbled.

“He twisted his ankle on the way to right field,” Cora told reporters via Zoom Sunday night. “He stepped on the bag and twisted his ankle. He grinded that inning defensively.”

In Martinez’s place out of the No. 5 spot in Boston’s lineup, Iglesias, who took over at second base while Enrique Hernandez moved to centerfield, went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and one run scored.

“We took [Martinez] out, Iggy did a good job. Got two hits, played good defense,” said Cora. “And the guys stepped up. That’s what we do. Somebody goes down, somebody has to come in and do the job, and tonight was really good.”

When asked if Martinez would be ready to go for Tuesday’s highly-anticipated Wild Card Game against the Yankees at Fenway Park, Cora could only respond by saying he and the team will know more on Monday.

Before his removal from Sunday’s contest, Martinez had gone 0-for-1 with a strikeout while also getting plunked by a pitch.

That said, the four-time All-Star finishes his 2021 campaign having slashed .286/.349/.518 with 42 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 99 RBI, 92 runs scored, 55 walks, and 150 strikeouts over 148 games and 634 plate appearances.

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