NEW YORK (AFP) – Kyle Schwarber blasted a record-breaking third grand slam as the Boston Red Sox routed the Houston Astros, 12-3, to open up a 2-1 lead in baseball’s American League Championship Series on Monday.
Schwarber’s 430-foot blast in the bottom of the second inning at Fenway Park made the Red Sox the first team in baseball history to hit three grand slams in a single postseason series.
It was a case of deja vu for the Astros, who saw J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers bludgeon grand slams for Boston in Game 2 in Houston on Saturday in a 9-5 victory.
After a scoreless first inning, the Red Sox roared into the lead in a devastating second inning burst after loading the bases.
Christian Vazquez’s single allowed Alex Verdugo to score and then Christian Arroyo reached after a fielding blunder by Astros star Jose Altuve sent J.D. Martinez over home plate for a 2-0 lead.
Altuve’s fumble was especially costly, potentially squandering a double-play to keep the innings alive and leave Boston with the bases loaded.
That proved too good an opportunity for Schwarber to pass up, and the 28-year-old outfielder duly pounced on the opportunity, electrifying Fenway with a mammoth shot deep into right field to leave the Sox 6-0 up.
Yimi Garcia replaced Jose Urquidy on the mound but was unable to stop the bleeding in the third inning, Vazquez driving in another single to score Hunter Renfroe for 7-0.
Arroyo then let rip with a two-run homer over Fenway’s famous “Green Monster”, high into left center field to put Boston 9-0 ahead.
Kyle Tucker finally got Houston on the board in the fourth inning with a three-run homer off to score Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez 9-3, jumping on starter Eduardo Rodriguez’s 79mph slider.
Boston pitcher Rodriguez finished with seven strikeouts through six innings.
The Red Sox onslaught resumed in the sixth as Martinez smashed a two-run homer into left field to stretch Boston’s lead to 11-3.
Devers added insult to injury with Boston’s fourth homer of the night in the eighth inning to complete the scoring.
Game 4 in the best=of-seven series takes place in Boston on Tuesday.