BOSTON — Kyle Schwarber obliterated the baseball and just briefly tracked its flight, merely pivoting down the line, tossing his bat aside and breaking into a languid trot.
After all, a Boston Red Sox hitting a grand slam in this American League Championship Series is scarcely a surprise anymore.
Schwarber capped a six-run second inning in Game 3 with a towering drive to right field for a grand slam off Houston Astros starter Jose Urquidy, who, three batters later, would be pulled from the game.
The Red Sox have turned baseball’s jackpot into a routine occurrence, and it may yet propel them back to the World Series.
Boston hit grand slams in the first two innings of Game 2 at Houston, the first time in playoff history a team hit twin slams in one game. That keyed a 9-5 victory that squared the series but gave the Red Sox a significant upper hand.
Then came Game 3, a quiet affair with no baserunners for the first inning and a half. And then the dam burst, in hurried, historic fashion.
A one-out walk to Alex Verdugo began the proceedings, but the real uh-oh moment came when second baseman Jose Altuve allowed a bases-loaded grounder off Christian Arroyo’s bat to eat him up, the ball deflecting on him for an error.
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It’s unlikely Altuve could have turned an inning-ending double play, but a 2-0 deficit with one out and two on is a lot different than bases loaded, one out and home run machine Schwarber at the plate.
And he pounced, sending Fenway Park into a frenzy and Boston in command of Game 3, joining Game 2 heroes J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers in the slam dance.
Boston now owns two slam-tastic feats – two grand slams in one playoff game, and three in two games. And they’re only halfway home in this ALCS.