Sox make history with THIRD slam of ALCS

Schwarber: 'These are moments that you are never going to forget as a player'

October 19th, 2021

BOSTON -- The expectation was a raucous atmosphere at Fenway Park as the American League Championship Series shifted back to Boston for Game 3. That’s exactly the scene that took place, with one swing from sending a sellout crowd into pandemonium.

For the second game in a row, the Red Sox's offense exploded for an early outburst against the Astros. Monday night's 12-3 blowout victory featured a six-run second inning that was highlighted by yet another grand slam, this one courtesy of Schwarber.

Schwarber’s 430-foot blast to right off Houston starter José Urquidy was the third grand slam of the postseason for the Red Sox, making them the first team in postseason history with that many in a single series. Boston’s three grand slams in the ALCS also matches its total from the entire regular season.

“These are moments that you are never going to forget as a player,” Schwarber said. “This is what we live for. We live to be in the postseason. When you get that first taste, that first experience, you want to keep coming. You want more.

“Especially in this place, where it's just rocking the whole time and it's rowdy, and they're in tune to every single pitch and every run matters. It's something that you're not going to forget, that's for sure.”

With and both hitting grand slams in Boston’s Game 2 victory at Minute Maid Park, the Red Sox are now just the fourth team in MLB history with grand slams in back-to-back postseason games. It’s a feat that has only been matched by the 2020 Yankees, 2011 D-backs and 1977 Dodgers.

“Offensively this is the best we've been the whole season, and they're locked in right now,” said manager Alex Cora. “The preparation is a lot better right now. The communication is a lot better. They're doing everything possible in that batter's box to grind at-bats and to put good at-bats together.”

The grind was evident in that second inning. Though Schwarber produced the signature moment, appeared to be the catalyst for the high-scoring frame with one of the more impressive at-bats of the postseason. After Urquidy had retired the first five batters he faced on 14 pitches, Verdugo walked to the plate with one out in the second and fouled off five pitches in what eventually became an 11-pitch walk -- the most pitches he has seen over a plate appearance in his career.

Five batters later, Schwarber sent Urquidy’s 35th pitch of the inning -- a 3-0 fastball left up in the zone -- into the right-field seats to put Boston ahead 6-0 at the time.

“I think what Dugie did in that at-bat is so big in setting the table,” said Red Sox second baseman . “It wears down a pitcher. It takes away an inning from what [Urquidy] is probably going to end up doing.

“Obviously, we can go to the big blow from the big fellow. But it starts with Dugie, and Schwarbs was able to put the nail in the coffin there in that inning.”

Given Schwarber’s ability to slug with the best of them, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him deliver the huge hit. The rarity, though, was that it came on a 3-0 count.

In his career, Schwarber has reached a 3-0 count 89 times in the regular season and has never recorded a hit in such an instance. Prior to the grand slam, he only had one hit on a 3-0 count in the playoffs: a single in Game 2 of the 2016 World Series.

“I definitely wasn't thinking home run,” Schwarber said. “But I definitely was thinking, ‘Don't be late, and get it in the air.’ ... You know a heater is coming, and just go from there.”

Just as he often did during his time with the Cubs, Schwarber is once again proving to be a player who shines in October. That postseason pedigree is why the Red Sox pursued him at this year’s Trade Deadline even though he was on the injured list at the time with a right hamstring strain. Now fully healthy, Schwarber is delivering, with Monday’s slam marking his third home run and sixth RBI of the postseason.

“We knew he was going to have an impact, but we had to be patient,” Cora said. “Well, we were patient. Not only on the field, but in the clubhouse, in the meetings and the way he talks the game -- he has been amazing for us.”