BOSTON — A change in scenery did little to help the Houston Astros cool the red-hot bats of the Boston Red Sox.
Kyle Schwarber smacked the Red Sox’s third grand slam in the past two games as Boston powered to a 12-3 rout of the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) on Monday night.
The Red Sox finished the night with four homers while taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“We’re playing good baseball,” said Boston’s Alex Cora, whose managerial record improved to 17-5 in the postseason. “Offensively, this is the best we’ve been the whole season, and they’re locked in right now.”
Schwarber’s second-inning slam into the right field bleachers off Astros starter Jose Urquidy (0-1) capped a six-run inning and sent the Fenway Park faithful into a frenzy.
Boston became the first team with three grand slams in the same postseason series. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit one in the Red Sox’s 9-5 win at Houston in Game 2 on Saturday.
“It’s been fantastic,” Schwarber said of Boston’s offense. “Ever since the playoffs started, I felt like we’ve done a really good job collectively as a group.”
Christian Arroyo added a two-run blast in the fourth for Boston, which jumped out to a 9-0 lead for the second straight game.
“It’s tough to come back when obviously, the first two innings they score eight or nine runs,” said Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who went 0-for-4. “It’s just tough to come back from those games against great teams.”
Urquidy gave up six of those runs (five earned) in just 1 2/3 innings, bloating the ERA of Houston’s three starters in the series to 20.25.
“I have nothing to say. That was a bad day,” Urquidy said. “We are good. We’re early in the series. We’re hoping to win tomorrow to tie the series and bring home the series (to Houston).”
Arroyo (three RBIs) and Martinez (2-for-3) each had two-run homers on Monday, Devers added a solo blast and Christian Vazquez (2-for-4) had a pair of RBIs for the Red Sox.
Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0) allowed three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out seven over six innings.
Game 3 winners when the ALCS was tied at one game apiece have gone on to win the series 78% (18 of 23) of the time. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Boston.
Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer to account for the only Houston offense.
Vazquez’s bases-loaded single plated Boston’s first run with one out in the second before Arroyo reached on a fielding error by Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. One run scored on the miscue, and the bases remained loaded for leadoff hitter Schwarber, who socked a 3-0 pitch.
Hunter Renfroe walked with one out in the Boston third and advanced to third after his steal of second coaxed a Martin Maldonado throw into center. Vazquez singled him home before Arroyo belted a pitch into the Green Monster seats in left.
Tucker’s third postseason home run of the year, in the fourth off Rodriguez, cut Houston’s deficit to 9-3. Martinez got two runs back for Boston on his third playoff homer in the sixth, and Devers belted his fourth long ball of the postseason in the eighth. —