Russell slams his way into World Series history

Shortstop hits grand slam, 2-run double to tie Fall Classic record with 6 RBIs

November 2nd, 2016

CLEVELAND -- Halloween is one of 's favorite holidays, and this year he stretched the celebration by a day. The Cubs' shortstop dressed up as a Ninja Turtle to go trick or treating in Chicago on Monday, and on Tuesday night, he made history in the World Series.

Russell hit a two-run double in the first inning and smacked the 19th grand slam in World Series history in the third to help power the Cubs to a 9-3 victory over the Indians in Game 6 of the Fall Classic at Progressive Field. With the win, Chicago forced a Game 7 on Wednesday night. With six RBIs, Russell tied a World Series single-game record.

Russell's slam off Indians reliever opened a 7-0 lead. His RBI total matched a mark shared by the Cardinals' (Game 3 in 2011), the Yankees' Hideki Matsui (Game 6 in '09) and the Yankees' Bobby Richardson (Game 3 in 1960).

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"I feel like that was the hit of the night there," Chicago's said of the grand slam. "He's had a lot of big home runs this postseason and that might have been the biggest."

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Russell didn't know about tying the record until after the game.

"We've been doing this all year, been breaking records, been putting new history in the history books, and you wouldn't even be able to tell that just from this group of guys," Russell said. "Everyone's so professional. Everyone gets along together. It's a great bunch of guys, and they pick each other up."

Russell's homer left the bat at 108 mph and sailed a Statcast™-projected 434 feet to left-center field -- surpassing Bryant's 433-foot solo shot in the three-run first -- to become the third-longest homer of this postseason, and the longest by a Cubs player. Russell was the first player to hit a grand slam in the World Series since Paul Konerko did it for the White Sox in Game 2 of the 2005 Series.

"The first two pitches of that at-bat were tough pitches to lay off, especially in the circumstances," said. "You're just looking for a pop fly there to get one run, and he hits that ball. It's a game-changer."

The shortstop became the first Cubs player to hit a grand slam in the World Series. Otero is the first Indians pitcher to surrender a slam in the Series.

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Russell also is the second-youngest player to hit a grand slam in the Fall Classic. Only Mickey Mantle (21 years, 349 days in Game 5 of the 1953 World Series) was younger than Russell (22 years, 283 days).

"He's young, yeah, but from the time he got called up last year to this moment, it's been nothing but learning and him getting better every day," Rizzo said. "He hits his ruts, but he never loses confidence."

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It was Russell's second hit in as many at-bats in Game 6. The first left his bat at 78 mph but dropped between Indians outfielders and for a two-run double, capping a three-run opening inning for the Cubs.

"Just off the bat, I thought it was going to be kind of a routine play," Russell said. "It looked like there was a little bit of miscommunication there. They didn't put a glove on it, therefore it counts as a hit, which I was totally stoked [about]. It pushed me for the next at-bat as well, coming up with the bases loaded."

The Cubs arrived in Cleveland late Monday because manager Joe Maddon wanted the players to spend Halloween with their families. Russell was stoked about that, too.

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"One, Halloween's my favorite holiday," Russell said. "It's my nerd holiday -- I go all out. Just to have my friends there and family there to kind of vent to them and take off a little bit of pressure that I have, that was awesome.

"But coming into Cleveland, I definitely wanted to have a sound mind, and we did. I think [Wednesday], we're going to come to the clubhouse with a lot of confidence and a lot of energy. Game 7, it's a kid's dream."