The Red Sox needed a spark as they fought to stay alive in the playoffs. They trailed the Astros, 3-2, in the third inning of ALDS Game 3 at Fenway Park on Sunday, so they turned to rookie phenom Rafael Devers to provide that spark.
The 20-year-old delivered, crushing a two-run homer off Francisco Liriano that sailed over the right-center field wall to put Boston in front, 4-3. Devers became the youngest hitter in Red Sox history to go deep in the playoffs and just the sixth player to do it before turning 21. Boston went on to force a Game 4 with a 10-3 victory.
Devers could hardly contain his emotions, not even knowing if he should flip the bat, wave his arms or something else. He chose, well, a combination of the two:
That's a smile that might as well be as wide as the distance between Boston and Houston itself.
Devers' manager, John Farrell, knew just how vital that dinger was for his team. "Turned the game around," he said. "Obviously, they're trying to matchup, but he gets a pitch up out over the plate and put a beautiful swing on it. He's an extremely talented kid, and I think we marvel at the fact that he's 20 years of age. He's come into this environment, come into this setting, this market and has performed fantastic. Probably better than we anticipated. But the timing of this one is a big swing."
After rounding the bases, Devers had a hug for pal Hanley Ramirez, too:
What a moment for the kid.
Tune in to ALDS Game 4: Monday, 1 p.m. ET/noon CT on FS1.