MILWAUKEE — Masataka Yoshida couldn’t remember a time in his baseball life when he hit two homers in one inning.
But in the eighth inning Sunday at American Family Field in Milwaukee, one round with the Red Sox’s celebratory inflatable dumbbells just wasn’t enough.
Yoshida hit two homers – including his first MLB Grand Slam – in the eighth as the Red Sox scored nine times to eliminate the Brewers, 12-5. He became the first player to hit two home runs, including at least one Grand Slam, in one inning since Edwin Encarnación did so with the Blue Jays on July 26, 2013.
Additionally, he is only the fourth Red Sox player to hit multiple home runs in an inning, joining Hall of Famers David Ortiz (August 12, 2008), Nomar Garciaparra (July 23, 2002) and Ellis Burks (27 August 1990). ).
“I’m truly honored to record this,” Yoshida said through an interpreter. “I’m truly honored to be (alongside) the Red Sox legends.”
The Red Sox trailed 4-3 entering the eighth, a deficit they quickly erased on a Justin Turner solo homer to lead the frame. Yoshida went back-to-back against Brewers reliever Matt Bush, smashing a 374-foot blast into right field that gave Boston the lead.
The Red Sox veered on three insurance runs as Yoshida’s place in the lineup returned with the bases loaded. And when Milwaukee’s Javy Guerra left him a slider on the inside of the plate, he made him pay, sending him 407 feet to right field for the slam.
“Masa, he doesn’t miss them,” manager Alex Cora said of the two circuits, which had exit speeds of 108.9 and 105.4 mph.
It was an encouraging performance for Yoshida and the Red Sox. He was one of their best rookies this past offseason, but he got off to a slow start at the plate in his first few weeks in Major League Baseball.
Yoshida entered the day hitting .213/.324/.295 with just three extra hits in 16 games. His average exit speed ranked in the ninth percentile and his hard-hit rate ranked in the 34th percentile.
However, a few signs have recently hinted at a breakout performance.
“Intent,” Cora said. “Stay the other way. He swings on the good guys, of course. There are some adjustments, and there are things he knows he needs to do to start hitting the ball hard in the air. He got two pitches today. The second was fun to watch.
Yoshida mentioned an adjustment to open up his batting stance slightly to help see pitchers better with both eyes. He feels more comfortable in terms of timing now and felt a day like Sunday coming.
“It’s a really good day for me,” Yoshida said. “But still, we are at the start of the season. So, I would like to keep preparing, keep playing hard during the season.
The Red Sox have improved to 7-3 in their last 10 games. They won three straight series for the first time since last June, and Sunday continued one of their most impressive early-season trends: showing a knack for picking up comeback wins.
Boston entered the day first in Major League Baseball with eight comeback wins. Nine of the Red Sox’ 12 wins this season have come from the back variety, but only one other came while trailing as late as Sunday. They lost 2-1 to the Twins after seven innings on Tuesday and won 5-4 in 10 innings.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise now,” Turner said. “We’ve seen it all year. It doesn’t matter the score. These guys don’t give anything, keep fighting, scratching, taking good bats. We are never out of the game.”
“This is our team, this is our chemistry and this is who we are,” third baseman Rafael Devers said through interpreter Carlos Villoria on Saturday – after Boston came close to winning another victory. “No matter how many points we lose, we will fight. This is our mentality. It’s something we’re not going to stop doing. We will fight until the last withdrawal, even if we lose a lot of points or one point.