The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
Hitting grand slams is supposed to be hard. Apparently no one told the Red Sox.
Backed by a game-breaking grand slam hit by Kyle Schwarber, the Red Sox used a six-run second inning to bludgeon the Astros 12-3 in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday to take a 2-1 series lead.
It was the third grand slam the Sox have hit in the ALCS after both J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers accomplished the feat in Game 2. The three slams in one series had never been done before in baseball history. They also still have at least a couple more games to try to add to their record.
Martinez, Devers and Christian Arroyo also went deep for the Red Sox. Boston now has clubbed 20 home runs over eight games this postseason, which ties a major league record (the Astros, in 2004, also did it). Additionally, the Red Sox have picked up 10+ hits in six straight postseason games. That is also a record.
Oh, and Enrique Hernandez picked up a couple more base knocks. Lather, rinse, repeat. He is now 18-for-36 (.500) this postseason and 8-for-13 (.615) during the ALCS.
The Astros really needed Jose Urquidy to go deep into Monday’s start after they got just 2 2/3 innings out of Framber Valdez in Game 1 and one inning out of Luis Garcia in Game 2. He had a 1-2-3 first inning, but things fell apart in a major way in the second. Urquidy threw a whopping 46 pitches in the frame, giving up six runs – five earned – on five hits and two walks while recording only two outs.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, got a brilliant effort out of Eduardo Rodriguez. The left-hander ran into some trouble in the fourth inning when Kyle Tucker followed a couple singles with a two-out, three-run home run. Outside of that frame, he permitted just one baserunner. All told, Rodriguez allowed three runs on five hits while striking out seven and not issuing a single walk.
Amazingly, it’s the first time in the history of Fenway Park that a left-handed pitcher has struck out seven-plus batters while not walking anyone in a playoff start. This is the same guy who was rocked for 12 runs over 9 1/3 innings covering two starts versus the Astros during the regular season. It’s also a Houston club which sported a wRC+ of 117 against southpaws this year, which was the best in baseball.
The Red Sox will turn to Nick Pivetta on Tuesday for Game 4 as they look to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the ALCS. Pivetta made two long relief appearances in the ALDS versus the Rays, struggling in Game 1 before going four dominant innings in Game 3.
The Astros will counter with veteran right-hander Zack Greinke. Greinke made just one one-inning relief appearance in the ALDS and will have gone exactly one month in between starts. Houston’s bullpen is going to have to be ready again.
Quick Hits: Fernando Tatis Jr. has elected not to undergo surgery on his left shoulder. Tatis partially dislocated the shoulder in April and dealt with multiple setbacks, but he’s decided to do strengthening exercises in lieu of going under the knife … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday that Julio Urias might be pushed back a day to start Game 5 of the NLCS instead of Game 4. Urias was used in relief in Game 2, so the club is waiting to see how he bounces back … Ronald Acuña Jr (knee) said Sunday that he expects to begin jogging in November or December, but there remains no timetable for when he might be game-ready … Tommy La Stella will visit with a foot specialist after battling a nagging Achilles issue down the stretch of the regular season and playoffs … The Mets have been denied permission to interview Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns for the same position, while Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job.