Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says his side's "humble approach" led to their historic multiple grand slam Game 2 performance as they won 9-5 over the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox levelled the American League Championship Series (ALCS) after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers delivered grand slams in the first two innings.

Boston became the first team in postseason history with multiple grand slams in a game, while there are only five other occasions when a side has hit grand slams in the opening two innings across any majors game, mostly recently in 1984.

Enrique Hernandez also homered in the fourth inning, continuing his excellent run of recent form, setting records for most XBH (nine), hits (15) and total bases (34) across a five-game postseason span.

In seven games, Hernandez has also already tied the Red Sox record for most home runs (five) in a single postseason.

"I think when we have this humble approach that we're not trying to do too much, then big things happen," Cora said at the post-game news conference.

"And J.D., that was great to see [him] going the other way. Raffy, not trying to do too much and hitting the grand slam. It's a very good approach right now. We're not getting greedy.

"Like I said a few days ago, it's not about hitting 30 home runs or driving [in] 100 runs. It's about winning four games against the Astros. So now we got one, and now we go to Fenway."

Cora also hailed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who improved his record to 8-1 in postseason games for the Red Sox when he plays, including 5-0 when he starts.

Eovaldi lasted five-and-one-third innings, giving up three runs on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

"He's been a horse for us, he's been amazing and he went out there and did an amazing job," Cora said.

Cora, whose Red Sox are 5-2 this postseason, was delighted his side would take the series to Boston after splitting the opening two games in Houston.

The Boston Red Sox made history as the first team ever to hit multiple grand slams in a postseason game as they defeated the Houston Astros 9-5 to level the American League Championship Series (ALCS) at 1-1.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers delivered the grand slams within the first two innings as the Red Sox, who have won 13 consecutive postseason games when scoring first, opened up an 8-0 lead.

Astros rookie right-hander Luis Garcia saw Martinez homer over right field for the first inning grand slam before he left the game with right knee discomfort after 33 pitches.

Garcia was replaced by Jake Odorizzi but with bases loaded and one out, Devers made it 8-0 with his grand slam.

Enrique Hernandez continued his hot postseason form with a solo home run in the fourth inning, which was his third homer of the ALCS. Hernandez has 15 hits in his past five games, which is the most ever in a five-game span in play-offs history.

The Astros rallied with three runs in the fourth inning, before solo home runs in the ninth inning from Yuli Gurriel – who finished the game with three RBIs and two hits – and Jason Castro.

Austin Riley recorded his first career walk-off hit as the Atlanta Braves claimed Game 1 of the National League Champoinship Series (NLCS) 3-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Riley, who homered in the fourth inning to level the game at 2-2, hit a line drive to left field from Blake Treinen to drive in Ozzie Albies, who had already stolen to second base, for the winning run.

The victory was the Braves' 11th postseason walk-off win, leaving the Dodgers to rue Chris Turner's indecision from Cody Bellinger's hit in the ninth inning allowing a rundown. Atlanta only had six hits for the game, along with 14 strikeouts but found a way.

 

Dodgers at Braves

The Dodgers will look to bounce back from Game 1 defeat in the NLCS at the Braves on Sunday with Max Scherzer returning to the mound for the World Series champions.

The Boston Red Sox found more Fenway Park magic Monday, knocking a Tampa Bay Rays team that posted the best record in the American League during the regular season out of the playoffs with a thrilling 6-5 victory. 

Kike Hernandez's sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning brought home pinch-runner Danny Santana with the winning run in Game 4 as Boston took the Division Series 3-1. 

Earlier in the game, it appeared the Red Sox might cruise to victory. Rafael Devers crushed a three-run homer to spark a five-run third inning for the Red Sox with Rays starter Collin McHugh already out of the game after just two innings. 

But the Rays, who went 100-62 during the regular season, were not done yet. They began chipping away with a run in the fifth, then rookie sensation Wander Franco hit a two-run homer in the sixth. 

Run-scoring hits from Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena tied the game in the eighth and Kiermaier ensured it stayed that way in the bottom of the inning, gunning down Alex Verdugo with an outrageous throw from center field to third base for a double play that ended a Red Sox threat. 

The reprieve was short-lived for the Rays, as Christian Vazquez led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left and Christian Arroyo bunted him to third. A misplayed grounder off the bat of Travis Shaw put runners on the corners and Hernandez drove in Santana to set off a wild celebration at the venerable ballpark.

The Red Sox have won eight consecutive games in which they had a chance to clinch a postseason series. Only the Oakland Athletics have a longer such streak, nine in a row between 1973 and 1990. 

Boston will face the Houston Astros or Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series. 

 

Longoria, Giants edge Dodgers in Game 3

Evan Longoria's fifth-inning home run off Max Scherzer was the difference as the San Francisco Giants edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 to put the reigning World Series champions on the brink of elimination. 

Longoria homered on a 0-2 fastball to lead off the fifth, virtually the only blemish for the Dodgers pitching staff as they limited the Giants to just three hits in Game 3. But that was enough, as San Francisco's pitching and defence made it stand up.

Starter Alex Wood and three relievers held the Dodgers to five hits with some significant help from their fielders, as Brandon Crawford in particular made a pair of stellar plays to rob Mookie Betts of hits. 

Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres headline the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

The starters for the upcoming All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies, were revealed after two rounds of fan voting on Thursday.

Guerrero (aged 22 years and 119 days) will be the youngest Blue Jays player to start an All-Star Game, while he is also the youngest player to start at first base since George Scott in 1966.

Son of an MLB Hall of Famer, Guerrero is only second to Ohtani (28) for home runs this season with 26, while he leads the majors in RBI (66), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.117) and three-plus hit games (11 – level with Trea Turner).

Ohtani, 26, is set to become the first Japanese-born player to start an All-Star Game since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.

The Angels' Ohtani has the most homers this season, while he owns a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts across 60 innings on the mound.

As for Tatis, the 22-year-old shortstop will be the youngest player to start for the Padres in an All-Star Game.

Tatis entered Thursday's action leading MLB with an incredible .705 slugging percentage, while leading the National League (NL) in homers.

Elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will become the first shortstop/third base combo in Boston Red Sox history to start the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Eddie Matthews as the player in franchise history to start multiple All-Star Games before turning 24, while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will give the Cincinnati Reds multiple outfield starters for the first time since 1956.

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

C: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
2B: Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays)
3B: Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) 
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
OF: Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays) 

National League

C: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
2B: Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3B: Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)
OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati Reds)
OF: Jesse Winker (Cincinnati Reds)

The Boston Red Sox reversed their form against the free-scoring Toronto Blue Jays with a walk-off win as Rafael Devers drove in Alex Verdugo in the ninth inning on Monday.

The Blue Jays had already piled on 14 home runs in the three games of the series against the Red Sox before Monday's meeting but the Red Sox bucked that trend with Nathan Eovaldi on the hill.

Eovaldi kept big-hitting sluggers Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Marcus Semien quiet early on, with Enrique Hernandez scoring for the Red Sox in the third inning.

Boston held that lead until the top of the ninth inning, when Guerrero unleashed a 451-feet home run, his 22nd of the season. It was the first time in 22-year-old Guerrero's career he has scored home runs in four consecutive games.

At the bottom of the ninth inning, Devers stepped up and hit a long ball off the wall, allowing Verdugo to score for the walk-off win. It was Devers' third career walk-off hit.

The result lifts the Blue Jays to 33-31 behind the Red Sox on 40-27 in the American League East.

 

Meadows and Randy lift Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays, first in the American League East, won 5-2 over the Chicago White Sox, leaders in the American League Central.

Austin Meadows continued his excellent 2021 slugging form with his 15th home run of the season.

The early double was the first runs allowed in the first innings this season by White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn, who had the second-best majors ERA this season coming in, at 1.23.

Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow tossed down 53 pitches with four strikeouts before exiting early with elbow inflammation troubling him.

But the Rays got the job done without him, as the resurgent Randy Arozarena homered in the eighth inning, for his ninth of the season.

The San Francisco Giants made it six consecutive wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-2 win.

Brandon Crawford hit a two-run shot at the bottom of the fifth inning to open up a 3-1 lead, his 15th home run of the season.

Will Smith and Chris Taylor hit home runs as reigning World Series champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, won 3-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Travel woes for the Padres

The San Diego Padres were one of the teams to watch earlier this season but they have been having some scoring issues on the road. Star man Fernando Tatis Jr represented that, going 0/4 including two strikeouts in their 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. San Diego have lost seven of their past eight road games.

 

Red hot Schwarber

Washington Nationals left-hander Kyle Schwarber is in hot form and he continued that run with his fourth home run in three days as the Nats won 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 28-year-old now has 13 home runs for the seaosn.

 

Monday's results

Washington Nationals 3-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Mets 5-2 Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox 2-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Indians 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds 10-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Detroit Tigers 10-3 Kansas City Royals
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Miami Marlins
Colorado Rockies 3-2 San Diego Padres
Oakland Athletics 8-5 Los Angeles Angels
San Francisco Giants 5-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins

 

Cubs at Mets

The National League East leaders, the New York Mets (33-25), continue their entertaining series against the National League Central leaders, the Chicago Cubs (38-28).

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