Eduardo Rodriguez walked off the mound as he retired Carlos Correa to the final out of the sixth inning, pointing to his wrist.
Three nights after Correa declared it for his time when he lifted the Astros to a Game 1 victory, the tables have turned in this American League Championship Series.
It’s Red Sox time right now.
And with a Game 3 win Monday night at an electric Fenway Park, they have full control. Burned by six excellent innings from Rodriguez, backed by a six-run inning outburst that included yet another grand slam, the Red Sox do not appear to have plans to give up anytime soon after their 12-3 victory gave them a 2-1 league lead in the best-of-seven ALCS, with games at Fenway Tuesday and Wednesday.
And here it is: In ALCS history, the series has been bound 24 times. The winner of Game 3 has gone to the World Series in 18 of the previous 23 (78 percent) occasions.
Two days after a pair of unprecedented grand slams helped them to a decisive victory in Game 2, the Red Sox’s bat kept warm on a cold October night at Fenway.
After a quiet first, the Red Sox returned to their regularly scheduled programming in the second. They sent 11 strokes to the plate as they put another foul on an Astros starter and sent Jose Urquidy to the showers after recording just five outs.
A battle flag appeared to create a domino effect for the Red Sox’s explosive inning. With an out in inning, Alex Verdugo fell behind Urquidy 0-2, but fought back to earn an 11-pitch walk.
So, as Alex Cora likes to say, the line kept moving … and moving … and moving.
JD Martinez doubled the wall, Hunter Renfroe went and Christian Vazquez struck first with an RBI single. Then they got some help from the Astros. Christian Arroyo hit a sharp grounder to second base, but Jose Altuve started the ball – much to the delight of the sold-out Fenway crowd – and everyone was safe.
And then the locks opened. Kyle Schwarber got Altuve to pay, coming in front of Urquidy at 3-0 before tearing a fastball down the right field stand to the grand slam. There was no doubt as the ball traveled 430 feet and sent the Fenway crowd into complete pandemonium.
The Red Sox made more history with the slap. A game after being the first team in post-season history to hit two grand slams in one game, made Schwarber’s blast the Red Sox the first team ever to hit three grand slams in a playoff series.
Astros manager Dusty Baker, after Xander Bogaerts single-handedly became the eighth Red Sox to reach the inning, graciously pulled Urquidy after 1 2/3 innings as the Astros’ pitching woes continued. In three games to start the series, their starters together have gone to just 5 1/3 innings.
And the Red Sox were not done walking in the yard either. Christian Arroyo hit a two-run explosion in the third for his first career after season homer and only since July 16, JD Martinez hit a two-run shot in the sixth and Devers went deep in the eighth for good measure. The Red Sox now have 20 homers this offseason, matching the 2003 team with the most in the club’s history.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, was dominant on the mound in one of the best starts of his career. He threw a 96 km / h fastball the first – the hardest course he has thrown all season – and never slowed down. He allowed a three-run homer to Kyle Tucker in the fourth, but bounced back with 1-2-3 innings in both fifth and sixth to complete a massive performance, rest the bullpen further and let Nick Pivetta start Tuesday’s game 4.
Rodriguez has now delivered two of the best starts of his career in back-to-back excursions after leading the Red Sox to an ALDS victory last Monday. He hit seven on Monday night in a rare quality start after the post season and set the Sox up for what could be a giant week.
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