Xander Bogaerts went into a slump towards the end of the regular season for the Boston Red Sox, hitting just .156 (5 for 32) over the team's final nine games.
So naturally, the team's longest-tenured player made his presence felt almost immediately in Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees.
Bogaerts, who celebrated his 29th birthday last week, swatted a two-run homer to straightaway center field for a 2-0 Red Sox lead in the bottom of the first inning of the first winner-take-all playoff game between the teams since Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.
The 2-1 pitch from Yankees starter Gerrit Cole landed some 427 feet away from home plate in the bleachers.
It was the third career postseason home run for Bogaerts, his second against the Yankees. Bogaerts entered 2021 with a .219 career average in the postseason.