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Game 1 of ALDS showed exactly why Red Sox signed J.D. Martinez

Ryan Hannable
October 06, 2018 - 1:02 am

What were some of the reasons for the Red Sox' lack of success in the playoffs during recent years?

An inability to hit home runs, and also falling behind early in the series.

After being signed this offseason, Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez made sure that didn't happen again this year, as his three-run home run in the first inning set the tone in the 5-4 win over the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS. It was the Red Sox' first Game 1 win in a playoff series since Game 1 of the 2013 World Series.

"You know, obviously it was important to get that lead right away," Martinez said. "And I think it kind of took a little pressure off everyone. Any time you go into the playoff game everyone's adrenaline is high and tensions are going, stuff like that. I think giving Chris [Sale] that lead, being able to let him settle in and go out there and pitch, I think definitely just helped relax everybody."

It was Martinez's fourth career postseason home run and the three RBIs tied a postseason career high.

Also, it was the first go-ahead three-run homer or grand slam by a Red Sox hitter in the postseason since Jonny Gomes' game-winning three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series.

Martinez admitted rounding the bases after the homer was a different feeling than any of the 43 he hit during the regular season.

"It's a different feeling," he said. "Everything you did before in the season doesn't matter anymore. This is the playoffs. From here on out everything starts at zero. Look at scoreboard, all your numbers are zero, zero, zero. So you know what's at stake. You know what the situation is. You're playing the Yankees. This is the playoffs. You have to go. And now is the time to get it going and stuff like that. When I hit it, obviously I was a little bit more pumped up than every other home run I hit during the season, really. But that's just because of the stage, really."

And for the Red Sox to keep winning and moving along in the postseason, it likely won't be the last time he gets that feeling.

Related: Chris Sale attitude on full display in postgame presser