MLB: Red Sox carry momentum into Game 3 vs. Rays

Don’t call it a comeback.

The Boston Red Sox sent a clear message that they weren’t going to roll over in Friday night’s 14-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays to even their American League Division Series at one game apiece.

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Boston will look to keep its offensive momentum rolling as the series shifts to Fenway Park for Game 3 in the best-of-five series on Sunday afternoon.

“I think we lead the league in comeback wins this season. We did it all season; why not do it now?” Boston outfielder Enrique Hernandez said after the Red Sox overcame a poor start from Chris Sale and an early three-run deficit on Friday.

Boston led the majors with 47 come-from-behind victories during the regular season. Tampa Bay ranked second with 46.

“We’ve had a lot of those ballgames here (at Fenway),” Rays manager Kevin Cash said Saturday. “Kind of the back-and-forth, high scoring on both clubs.”

Hernandez went 5-for-6 with a solo homer and three RBIs as Boston collected 20 hits and smashed a franchise-playoff-record five home runs to even the series after looking lifeless in a 5-0 loss in Game 1 on Thursday.

J.D. Martinez (4-for-5) added a three-run homer in the Red Sox’s offensive onslaught. Martinez got the start as the designated hitter after not playing in Game 1 as he recovered from a left-ankle sprain.

Tampa Bay lost Game 2 despite topping its offensive output from Game 1 with six runs on eight hits. Jordan Luplow slugged a grand slam off Sale to cap the Rays’ four-hit, five-run first inning, but their only run after that came on Ji-Man Choi’s sixth-inning solo shot.

The AL East-champion Rays were also outhit 9-6 in their five-run victory in the series opener.

“There are no surprises, there are no secrets on either end,” said Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen, who will start Game 3 for the Rays in a planned bullpen game. “It’s going to be a dogfight (Sunday); we already know that. That’s a quality team, and at the end of the day it just comes down to executing.”

Rasmussen, who will make his first career postseason start, was 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in five games (three starts) against Boston this season.

Boston will counter with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees in Tuesday’s AL wild-card game.

Eovaldi boasts a career 1.63 ERA in the postseason and went 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA in four starts against his former Rays’ team during the regular season.

“Game 3 is huge. If we win (Sunday), then we need one more and we’re going to be at home (in Game 4 Monday),” Eovaldi said. “You saw the atmosphere we had when the Yankees were in town, the electricity in the stadium. … Having them to push us along the way, it’s going to be great.”

–Field Level Media

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