The second life of Gary Sanchez isn’t shocking the Red Sox

Gary Sanchez hadn’t homered twice in a game since May 19 before he did it in Game 2 of the ALDS to spark the Yankees’ win over the Red Sox.

While Sanchez had a dreadful regular season — plagued by an injured groin, ineffectiveness at the plate and continued questions about whether he was a good enough defender to be an everyday catcher — Boston didn’t take him lightly heading into this series.

“Yeah, he struggled in the regular season and down the stretch, but the guy’s a phenomenal hitter,” right-hander Matt Barnes said Sunday at Yankee Stadium in advance of Monday’s Game 3 in The Bronx. “He really is. When you make mistakes, he can do damage. We don’t take anybody in that lineup, let alone him, for granted. You’re trying to execute pitches at the highest level to every guy in that lineup because one mistake and they can leave the yard, one through nine.”

Sanchez proved that again Saturday night at Fenway Park, as he went deep off David Price to lead off the second inning to extend the Yankees’ lead to 2-0 then helped seal the victory with a three-run blast off Eduardo Rodriguez in the seventh. He became the first Yankees backstop to have a multi-homer game in the playoffs since Yogi Berra in 1956.

“Regardless of what somebody’s done in the regular season, the postseason is different,” Barnes said. “It’s different in all aspects, and you can’t take anybody lightly.”

A year ago, Sanchez struggled in both the ALDS against Cleveland and again in the ALCS against Houston, going 9-for-49 with 19 strikeouts in a dozen games, although he also homered three times during that stretch.

He already has made his mark on this series, continuing his dominance against David Price.

“I believe that Gary, he’s a good hitter,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “I saw him last year in the playoffs. He’s a tough out. [Saturday], he put some good swings on it and hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Just as important is the fact that in the Yankees’ three playoff games this season — the wild-card win over the A’s and the first two games of the ALDS — Sanchez has been more than solid defensively.

“I’ve been obviously answering a lot of questions about Gary over the last month and throughout this year,” Aaron Boone said. “I’ve believed what I’ve told you in that I feel like we’ve seen a lot of strides and a lot of really positive things since he came back from the disabled list defensively. … Now, he was still having the occasional lapse or mistake that would happen that would show up that draws the attention, but I really feel strongly that 90, 95 percent of the stuff we’re seeing was really impactful behind the plate. He’s been able to do that so far in the postseason, limiting the mistakes.”