J.D. Martinez comes off COVID-19 list, hits 3 HRs as Red Sox top O’s

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE — J.D. Martinez caught up in a hurry.

Martinez came off the COVID-19 list and hit three home runs, powering the Boston Red Sox past the Baltimore Orioles 14-9 Sunday for their sixth straight win.

Martinez struck out in the first inning and quickly made some adjustments.

“After that first at-bat, I felt like everything just kind of sped up on me,” Martinez said. “I went to the cage and I was like, `All right, we need to dial this up. We can get it going. Wake up.’ After that, I felt a lot more in control and I felt really good.”

The 33-year-old Martinez was back in the lineup one day after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list because of cold symptoms. He passed the required tests and went 4 for 6, driving in four runs and scoring four times.

Martinez got a chance at a record-tying fourth homer in the ninth inning and struck out swinging. He is the last of 18 major leaguers to homer four times in a game, doing it in September 2017 for Arizona.

This was the fourth time that Martinez has hit at least three homers in a game. A year after batting just .213 with seven home runs in 54 games during the pandemic-shortened season, he is hitting .472 (17 for 36) with five homers and 16 RBIs in eight games.

“He’s locked in. You can tell,” manager Alex Cora said. “This is the guy I saw in (2018 and 2019), He has an idea of what he wants to do. He doesn’t deviate from his process. I think the last swing he was just hoping for a strike to see if he could hit it in the air. That wasn’t the case.”

Martinez hit solo homers in the third, sixth and eighth innings. The three-time All-Star also had an RBI single.

Rafael Devers homered twice and Alex Verdugo added a three-run shot for the Red Sox, who completed a three-game sweep – Boston lost three in a row to Baltimore at Fenway Park to start the season.

“I feel good obviously. I made a couple of changes here and there but I still have the same approach every single game and now things are falling in my favor,” Devers said. “It feels good to be able to contribute as much as I am right now.”

Devers has homered in three straight games for the second time in his career. Boston entered the game ranked near the bottom of the American League with seven home runs.

Nick Pivetta (2-0) allowed four runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks over six innings.

Maikel Franco and Trey Mancini hit three-run homers for the Orioles. Ryan McKenna managed a triple in the sixth for his first major league hit.

“I was thinking the other day that would be pretty cool if that happened,” Mckenna said.

Boston took the lead on a three-run homer by Verdugo followed by a drive from Martinez off Jorge Lopez (0-2) in the third. Lopez allowed eight runs and seven hits over just four innings.

Baltimore shortstop Freddy Galvis was shaken up after being tagged out at the plate on a pitch that got just past catcher Christian Vazquez in the third, but he was able to stay in the game.

The Orioles cut the margin to 4-1 on an RBI single by Franco that scored Ryan Mountcastle, who led off the fourth with a double. The Red Sox responded the following inning on a single by Martinez and a three-run homer by Devers.

Martinez connected in the sixth for a 10-1 lead.

Mancini’s drive off Austin Brice cut the lead to 10-7 in the seventh. Martinez and Devers answered again for the Red Sox with homers in the eighth.

“We just had a tough time out of the (bullpen) getting guys out,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Proud of our offense, the way we kept scratching back.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Michael Chavis was optioned to the team’s alternate training site to make room for Martinez. Chavis, however, will remain with the team on the road trip as a member of the taxi squad.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Martin Perez (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will face his former team when he starts the opener of a four-game series in Minnesota beginning Monday. Perez went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA for the Twins in 2019. LHP J.A. Happ (0-0, 2.25) gets the start for Minnesota.

Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer (0-1, 9.00 ERA) is slated to make his sixth career start Monday against Seattle. LHP Justus Sheffield (0-1, 7.20) will start for Seattle.

Yankees’ Judge heads on road still at 61 homers; 4 games left

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NEW YORK – Aaron Judge won’t break the American League home run record at Yankee Stadium, remaining at 61 as New York headed on the road for its final four regular-season games after a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Judge struck out three times and walked once, disappointing a crowd of 44,332 that watched the Yankees regular-season home finale in rain for much of a chilly, blustery afternoon. New York finishes the regular season with four games at Texas, starting Monday night.

Judge took a called third strike from rookie Kyle Bradish leading off the first inning, then couldn’t check his swing and stranded the bases loaded when he struck out on a curveball in the second. He walked in the fifth and fanned against Bryan Baker in the seventh, dropping to 1 for 7 with six strikeouts, five walks and a hit batter since hitting No. 61 at Toronto on Wednesday night.

Trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012, Judge tops the AL with 130 RBIs. His batting average fell to .311, four points behind league leader Luis Arraez of Minnesota.

Baltimore (82-77) guaranteed its first winning season since 2016. The Orioles went 52-110 last year and became the first team since at least 1900 to have a winning record one season after losing 110 or more.

AL East champion New York (97-61) took another hit to an injury-ravaged bullpen when Ron Marinaccio left while pitching to Jorge Mateo in the eighth. The Yankees will be without Clay Holmes until the playoffs because of rotator cuff inflammation, and Aroldis Chapman (3-4) was once again wild, walking three, including rookie Gunnar Henderson with the bases loaded, as Baltimore surged ahead in the seventh.

Chi Chi Gonzalez, a 30-year-old right-hander, made his Yankees debut after pitching for Minnesota and Milwaukee in the majors earlier this season. He threw to Jose Trevino, his batterymate at Oral Roberts in 2012 and ’13.

Gonzalez allowed one run, four hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Bradish gave up one run – unearned – three hits and five walks in five-plus innings.

Logan Gillaspie (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth in his first big league decision, Baker struck out five while getting six straight outs, and Dillon Tate got three outs for his fifth save.

Ryan Mountcastle had an RBI double in the first. Aaron Hicks scored from second base in the fifth when Bradish bounced a wild pitch and catcher Adley Rutschman threw the ball into center for an error.

Cedric Mullins reached on an infield hit starting the seventh against Chapman, has walked 28 in 35 1/3 innings. After Chapman walked three of four batters, Austin Hays followed with a sacrifice fly off Marinaccio.

WEB GEMS

Yankees 3B Josh Donaldson made a backhand grab on Jorge Mateo’s bases-loaded grounder in the sixth and from foul territory made a strong throw for the inning-ending out. … Hicks saved two runs with a sprinting catch on Terrin Vavra‘s slicing liner near the left-field line in the seventh.

FOR THE BOOKS

New York went 57-24 at home, matching most wins at new Yankee Stadium. Baltimore was 38-43 on the road, up from 20-61.

IN THE SEATS

The Yankees drew 3,136,207 for 78 home dates, down from 3,304,404 in 2019, the last season before two years of COVID restrictions. They had 16 sellouts, up from 12 in 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Felix Bautista may not pitch for the rest of the season because of the sore left knee he injured Friday.

Yankees: Matt Carpenter (broken left foot on Aug 8) will not work out initially in the outfield at the Somerset, New Jersey, training camp this week. He was moved to the 60-day IL on Sunday, ruling him out of the Texas series. … RHP Miguel Castro (strained shoulder) could be activated Monday. … LHP Wandy Peralta, sidelined since Sept. 18 with back tightness, threw a bullpen session and will face hitters at Somerset on Tuesday or Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer (6-8, 3.17) starts Monday’s opener of a season-ending series against visiting Toronto and Jose Berrios (11-7, 5.37)

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.41) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Texas and LHP Martin Perez (12-7, 2.93). After Wednesday, the Yankees have five off days before their Division Series opener at home on Oct. 11.