J.D. Martinez's May mash party is coming to an end, but only because the calendar flips on Friday. The slugger doesn't look like he is going to cool off any time soon.
Martinez came up in just the right spot for the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, unloading for a two-run shot that soared over everything in left field in the bottom of the sixth to snap a tie and lead the Red Sox to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays to complete a three-game sweep.
It was Martinez's 13th homer of May, the most by a Red Sox player in one month since David Ortiz belted 14 in July 2006. The last Boston player to hit 13 or more in May was Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who hit 13 in 1978.
The timing of Martinez's latest rocket could not have been better. Teoscar Hernandez had just tied the game for Toronto with a two-run homer against Eduardo Rodriguez in the top of the sixth.
The Red Sox improved their MLB-best record to 39-17, heading into a four-game showdown in Houston against the defending World Series champion Astros that starts Thursday night.
The two insurance runs the Sox scored in the bottom of the eighth -- on Eduardo Nunez's double and Brock Holt's single -- to boost the lead to 6-2 turned out to be important. The Jays rallied for two in the top of the ninth, but Craig Kimbrel worked his w
Rodriguez (6-1, 3.88 ERA) was perfect through 4 1/3 innings and had faced the minimum of 17 batters with two outs in the sixth when he walked No. 9 hitter Gio Urshela. That proved costly, as Hernandez stepped up next and smashed his 2-0 changeup for a game-tying, two-run homer over the Green Monster.
That was just a temporary nuisance for the Red Sox. Martinez immediately took away the sting when he got all of a 2-0 sinker from Jays starter Sam Gaviglio and clocked it with an exit velocity of 111.7 mph and a projected distance of 434 feet. The big fly, No. 18 for Martinez, tied him with the Angels' Mike Trout for the MLB lead.
Other than the misfire to Hernandez, Rodriguez was tremendous. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs while walking one and striking out seven. All things considered -- results, efficiency, command -- this was Rodriguez's best start of the season. Of the 100 pitches Rodriguez threw, 70 were for strikes.
Ian Browne MLB.com