Sox, Rays tie mark with seven homers
Bay's homer in fifth inning equals all-time postseason record
ST. PETERSBURG -- Hitters can never count on any wind to help fly balls soar under Tropicana Field's sloping roof, but the Red Sox and Rays didn't seem to need a whole lot of help anyway.
The Junior Circuit foes combined to belt seven home runs over the indoor walls during the Rays' 9-8 11-inning victory in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, setting a new ALCS record for home runs in a single game.
Once the top of the fifth inning had ended, the clubs had combined to tie the all-time postseason record for most home runs in one game. Two were hit by Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, marking the first time in his career that he had homered twice in a game.
"It was almost kind of like you were waiting for someone else to hit another one," said the Rays' B.J. Upton, who belted a third-inning shot off starter Josh Beckett. "It was just back and forth, people hitting home runs. You're out there waiting and telling yourself, 'Just keep it in the ballpark.' It was a little different."
The Rays' Evan Longoria started the barrage, snapping a personal 0-for-13 skid with a two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the first inning to victimize Beckett for the first of three home runs the right-hander would surrender.
"It's big, you know," Longoria said. "It's all about the moments in the postseason, so you want to perform when it matters. Sometimes, there's not a tomorrow -- it's not like the regular season. ... It's not really about personal success anymore."
Pedroia answered with a solo home run to lead off the third inning off Rays starter Scott Kazmir, before Upton came back in the bottom half of the frame with a one-out solo shot off Beckett, Upton's fourth of the postseason.
Most homers in an inning in an LCS game
After being taken out of the batter's box to end the bottom of the third inning when Carl Crawford was picked off first base, Cliff Floyd made the most of his new opportunity by crushing a Beckett fastball to center field leading off the home half of the fourth. Beckett allowed three home runs in a postseason game for the first time in his career.
"He was making some mistakes, and he gave us some opportunities," Floyd said. "We took advantage of them tonight instead of missing them."
"His location wasn't where he wanted it to be," Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said, "but they did a good job hitting, so I'm not going to take that away from them. He got some balls in the middle of the plate, and they capitalized."
Not to be outdone, the Red Sox then tagged Rays pitching for three solo home runs in the top of the fifth inning; Pedroia hit his second homer of the game, and Kevin Youkilis notched his first career postseason home run to chase Kazmir before Jason Bay greeted reliever Grant Balfour with a solo shot inside the left-field foul pole to set the new ALCS record.
Dialing long distance
The Red Sox's three home runs in the inning also tied the postseason record for the most in one frame by a single team, accomplished nine times. It marked the second consecutive year that Boston had done it, as the Red Sox hit three home runs in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the 2007 ALCS against the Indians.
The previous mark of six home runs in an ALCS game was set twice, both times involving the Yankees. New York and Baltimore each hit three homers in Game 3 of the 1996 ALCS on Oct. 13 of that season, and the Yankees hit four homers to the Red Sox's two in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS on Oct. 16.
Clubs had combined for as many as seven home runs in any postseason game three times before Saturday's ALCS Game 2, twice in an LCS contest. In Game 1 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, the Cubs and Marlins achieved the feat, to be repeated by the Mets and Cardinals in Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS.
The Athletics hit five home runs and the Giants hit two in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at Candlestick Park, the first game back after an earthquake interrupted the "Battle of the Bay."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.