Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Two wins away: Red Sox overwhelm Astros behind Jackie Bradley grand slam in Game 3

John Tomase
October 16, 2018 - 8:48 pm

We've said it all year, and the Astros are learning this lesson with a wince and a grimace: the Red Sox can beat you so many ways.

In the last week alone, they've pummeled the Yankees 16-1, pulled out a 4-3 clinching win in New York, and beaten the Astros' second-best pitcher with a relentless offensive attack. That brought us to Tuesday night in Houston and the pivotal third game of the American League Championship Series.

Once again, the Red Sox found a way.

This time they jumped on Houston starter Dallas Keuchel for two quick runs before the bats largely went silent. But starter Nathan Eovaldi did his part and even after a poor play by third baseman Rafael Devers led to the tying run, Steve Pearce restored the lead with a monstrous 450-foot solo homer down the left field line in the sixth.

What looked like another close game turned into a rout when Jackie Bradley Jr. launched a two-out grand slam off of closer Roberto Osuna in the eighth after pinch hitters Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland were each hit by pitches in an 8-2 victory.

The Red Sox are now two wins away from a berth in the World Series, where they would be prohibitive favorites, especially after dispatching the defending champs.

This one wasn't nearly as easy as the final score.

It looked like the Red Sox would knock out Keuchel in the first inning after Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez led off with hits, but the former Cy Young Award winner gathered himself to last five innings.

The much ballyhooed Astros bullpen was once again out-pitched, however. Reliever Joe Smith allowed Pearce's missile to left before Osuna, called upon in the eighth, imploded with two outs.

The Red Sox have now led for 16 of the last 18 innings in the series, clearly establishing themselves as the better team.

Two more wins, and they'll get to show the National League representative how many ways they can win a game.