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 Vázquez 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.”
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.
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.
Todd Karpovich, The Associated Press