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Reddick shakes off struggles, praises fans

'It's been a blast here,' Astros outfielder says after 2-hit night in Game 3 win
MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- It's hard to imagine there was a time when Astros fans didn't know that Josh Reddick is a pro-wrestling fanatic, or that retired wrestler Ric Flair makes him giddy.

You'd have to go back about eight months to find a time when Reddick's hobbies were not yet a part of the Astros' gameday presentation, when he was just one of a handful of veteran players reporting to Spring Training in Florida still needing to introduce himself to the new fan base.

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HOUSTON -- It's hard to imagine there was a time when Astros fans didn't know that Josh Reddick is a pro-wrestling fanatic, or that retired wrestler Ric Flair makes him giddy.

You'd have to go back about eight months to find a time when Reddick's hobbies were not yet a part of the Astros' gameday presentation, when he was just one of a handful of veteran players reporting to Spring Training in Florida still needing to introduce himself to the new fan base.

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Today, of course, Flair's signature "Woo!" is now how Astros fans best identify with Reddick. That's what he hears when he strides to the plate to hit, and that now-familiar sound continues to ring out during postseason home games at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros are 7-0 this month after a 5-3 win in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night against the Dodgers.

"It seems like the whole stadium does it," he said after going 2-for-4 in helping Houston take a 2-1 Series lead. "You look up and you see guys in Ric Flair robes walking about the ballpark, and they're on the big screen. ... It's pretty amazing how much fun they have while cheering on this team. They like to have a lot of fun, throw on some costumes for a little extra fun. It's been great."

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Reddick's acceptance by the Astros' fan base, fueled mostly by his consistent play through the regular season, gave him some leeway when he stumbled in the postseason. He had a nice showing in the American League Division Series, logging six hits in 16 at-bats during the Astros' 3-1 series win over the Red Sox, but then he fell off in the AL Championship Series against the Yankees, contributing one hit in 25 at-bats.

Reddick made up for some of his earlier struggles during Game 3. He logged two hits, including a double, and scored a crucial run toward the beginning of the Astros' four-run second frame that knocked Yu Darvish out of the game.

"Josh Reddick coming back from a difficult Championship Series and difficult first night, has really responded with quality at-bats; kind of what we're used to seeing," manager A.J. Hinch said.

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In three games in the World Series, Reddick has four hits in 11 at-bats and has scored three runs. He is one of several Astros players who have been hitting better since being largely shut down by Clayton Kershaw in Game 1.

"Just looking back to last series to now, after just struggling so much against the Yankees, I felt like it wasn't going to be very long before things turned around," Reddick said. "I just kept trying to work on things, trying to just not do too much out there."

Of course, it's easier to keep a clear head when you're hearing wooing, and not booing. The latter became a part of his everyday life during his brief time with the Dodgers last season, when he was traded from the A's at the Deadline and struggled immediately.

The Dodgers' fans voiced their frustrations then, and he's still hearing it now. He was loudly booed during each at-bat during Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium, and while he partly expected it, it was still a little hurtful.

"I'm not here to hide anything," he said. "They did boo me my very first game and who wants to hear that? It's pretty heartbreaking, but it's fun when you beat a former team, whether you've been with them for three to four years or two months. There's a more personal drive going into it."

Video: WS2017 Gm3: Reddick scores on Watson's error

Reddick said he "couldn't be happier here" in Houston and appreciates being embraced by Astros fans from the get-go.

"Fortunately, I had some early successes to help get through that," he said. "They've embraced not only myself, but the walkup song, the wrestling thing, everything.

"It's been a blast here."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Houston Astros, Josh Reddick