Martinez did not miss his pitch, sending a suspended slider from Rafael Dolis deep into the Florida night. It was his 12th home run of the season and the 250th of his career.
“I was just trying to go up there and hit hard,” Martinez said. “It was a great victory.”
Martinez, who was released by the Astros in 2014, said he never imagined he had hit 250 home runs.
The First Sox (27-18) took two of three from the Blue Jays and won five of seven in total. It was their 17th comeback victory.
Matt Barnes shut down the Jays for his 10th save on 11 occasions. He struck out three, working around a two-out march with a crushing fastball as the Sox-centric crowd of 1562 celebrated.
“What an incredible victory. What a great game. What a big league ‘W’, ”said manager Alex Cora.
Dolis inherited a 7-5 lead. Bobby Dalbec and Michael Chavis started the round with singles. Barnes immediately started pitching the bullpen, knowing the game could change quickly in the small, wind-blown spring training stadium where the Jays played their home games.
A wild throw pushed them to the top and Dalbec scored when Alex Verdugo failed on first base for the second out. Martinez took a low slider for a strike, then hammered the next one down the center-right.
“Even on nights when he cites struggles without a quote, he’s one stick away from changing the game,” Cora said.
It was the Red Sox’s first kick off in the ninth inning of a road game since September 2, 2018, when Brandon Phillips hit his only home run with the club to beat the Atlanta Braves. .
All eight points for the Sox scored with two strikeouts. The Toronto pitchers had retired 10 in a row before the ninth.
Trailing 2-0, the Sox made two quick strikeouts early in the second inning. Christian Vázquez was almost third, but he fouled a two-stroke pitch before dropping a single in right field. It was the first of seven straight hits, with the Sox scoring five runs against Steven Matz.
After Vázquez made a single, Hunter Renfroe picked the center. Dalbec then threw a curved ball to right field which got caught in the wind but hit the foul post for a home run.
Chavis held the set with a brace away from the right. Kiké Hernández made a single down left field, the ball deflecting shortstop Marcus Semien’s glove just enough for Chavis to score. The simple ones of Verdugo and Martinez led to Hernández.
Four of the seven hits in the inning came with two catches.
But the Sox didn’t score again against Matz, who made six innings and threw just 45 more shots. And Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, who has been strong all season, couldn’t hold a 5-2 lead.
Up 5-3, Pivetta walked Semien to start the fifth inning. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made just one out, cutting a single in right field against a shift as Semien was third.
Teoscar Hernández followed with a slowly hitting third base that came out of Rafael Devers’ glove for a mistake and Semien scored. Cavan Biggio then ground a single down center to lead Guerrero with the race tied.
With Pivetta 95 shots, the Sox tried Hirokazu Sawamura in the sixth inning. He hadn’t launched for eight days, and it showed.
Danny Jansen tore a fastball away from the right. Renfroe played the ball poorly and Jansen was third. Jonathan Davis called with a single on the left to give the Jays the lead.
With two outs and runners in the first and second, Hernández hit a sharp grounder in the middle which Bogaerts dove to stop and returned to the second. But Chavis dropped the ball for another mistake, and it turned out to be costly when Randal Grichuk chose to drive Davis. This gave the Jays a 7-5 lead.
The Sox weren’t sharp on the mound or defensively. But they overcame it.
“It was a huge team victory. It was huge, ”Pivetta said.
Peter Abraham can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @PeteAbe.