By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — J.D. Martinez had to miss Saturday’s game due to some cold-like symptoms, briefly spending time on the COVID-19 injured list to undergo testing. That brief hiccup did absolutely nothing in slowing down his historically ridiculous start to the season.

Martinez struck out in his first at-bat on Sunday, perhaps his only sign of any rust from the day off.

In the third inning, he homered down the right field line to give Boston a 4-0 lead. In the fifth, he delivered an RBI single to make it 5-1. In the sixth, another solo homer to give the Red Sox a 9-1 advantage. And in the eighth, Martinez went deep again, this time to the pull side of center field.

He failed to make it a four-homer day when he struck out in the ninth inning of a 14-7 game, but the damage had clearly been done. Martinez was 4-for-6 with three home runs and four RBIs. Combined with Rafael Devers’ day — 2-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs — it allowed the Red Sox to turn in a season-high for runs scored.

For Martinez specifically, Sunday’s three-homer performance was merely a continuation of an utterly absurd start to the season at the plate.

J.D. Martinez, 2021 season (MLB Rank)
Batting Average: .472 (third)
Slugging Percentage: 1.083 (second)
OPS: 1.583 (second)
Doubles; 7 (first)
Home Runs: 5 (tied for first)
RBI: 16 (first)

Through eight games and 38 plate appearances, Martinez has started to leave his mark on some historical lists. Which one is most impressive is a matter of preference.

While this is all welcome news to the Red Sox after Martinez’s down year in 2020, the most significant part for the team is that the offensive dominance has led to victories. With Sunday’s win, the Red Sox have now swept back-to-back series to get to 6-3 on the season. After a shocking start to the season, they’re now tied for the best record in the AL, and they sit alone atop the AL East.

That’s obviously required more than just Martinez’s bat, but his presence in the three-hole has been a sight to behold through the season’s first three series.

Interestingly enough, Martinez and the Red Sox will now get four games to see Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, who ranks ahead of Martinez in batting average (.481) and OPS (1.734) thus far on the year. Given the way the season has begun, it seems safe to assume that some offensive fireworks are in store.

CBSBoston.com Staff