BOSTON — Kiké Hernández has always been renowned as an exceptional postseason performer, but he’s never put together a run like he has the past two games.
In fact, nobody has.
Over the past two games Hernández has gone 8 for 12 with three doubles, two home runs, four runs scored and five RBI to help lead the Red Sox to a pair of huge wins over the Tampa Bay Rays.
At one point Hernández also recorded hits in seven consecutive at bats.
According to ESPN, Hernández is the first player in MLB history to record eight hits over a two-game span within a single postseason. His seven straight hits is also the longest streak in Red Sox postseason history and tied with the MLB record.
Hernández’s hits haven’t been cheapies either, and his five extra base hits are already tied for the Red Sox postseason record in a single series after just three games. Carl Yastrzemski (1967 World Series) and Kevin Youkilis (2007 and 2008 ALCS) both did it over seven games, and John Valentin (1999 ALDS) did it over five.
“It’s fantastic. The guy’s locked in,” said teammate Kyle Schwarber. “You see what Kiké is doing at the plate right now. The biggest thing is let him keep going up there and keep doing what he’s doing.
“Give him high fives whenever he comes in, hits a home run, hits a big double, whatever it is. Don’t mention anything. Let him keep enjoying the moment. That’s the biggest thing. We’re all enjoying the moment right now. He’s doing an exceptional job of enjoying the moment.”
More important that just the production has been the timing. In Game 2 Hernandez homered to tie the game and later had a two-run single to finish the offensive barrage. Then in Game 3 he tied the game again with his RBI single in the third and added a crucial insurance run with his crushed home run in the fifth.
Now the Red Sox stand one win away from upsetting the defending American League champions and advancing to the ALCS.
“We’re sitting here in a really good spot to win a series against one of the best teams in the American League, if not the best team the last two years,” Hernández said. “This is what October is all about. These are the games you expect to play and to win when you think about October.”
“Luckily we were able to take care of business tonight,” he continued. “We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
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