History was made once again for the Red Sox Monday night in front of a rowdy hometown crowd at Fenway Park, and the team is hoping fans bring that same electric energy Tuesday night as Boston looks to extend its AL Championship Series lead over Houston.
Kyle Schwarber's grand slam helped the Red Sox rout the Astros 12-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS. One game after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit a grand slam in Houston, Schwarber hit a second-inning 3-0 pitch out. Christian Arroyo homered in the third to give the wild-card Red Sox a 9-0 lead for the second game in a row. Martinez and Devers each homered again, and Kiké Hernández had two more hits for Boston.
“I definitely wasn’t thinking home run but I definitely was thinking don’t be late and get it in the air, you’re trying to get at least one, not going up there thinking, homerun, that could turn into a pop up or something like that, just trying to not be late, you know a heater’s coming there and just go from there,” Schwarber said of his at-bat after Monday's game.
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It’s the first time in Major League Baseball postseason history that a team has hit three grand slams in a single series, and Boston set a new league record with six consecutive games with more than ten hits in a single postseason.
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said the team's performance Monday was as close to a perfect game as you can get, noting the team is locked in.
“We’re playing good baseball I think all around, running the bases well, playing good defense, pitching well," Cora said. "Offensively, this is the best we’ve been the whole season, they’re locked in right now.”
The timing could not be better for the Sox bats to be this hot, and the Fenway Faithful are riled up. The ballpark roared after Schwarber's historic grand slam, and has been rocking in general -- and the players have noticed.
“That gave me a headache and I loved it, I loved every second of it, like I said this is what you live for right, this is it," he said. "Obviously we have steps to where we want to be but to have the atmosphere like that, we feed off that, and that’s only going to help us be better.”
The Red Sox know how to ride the energy of their home crowd like no other team in baseball.
Schwarber's message to the fans? Keep showing up.
"It just brings a smile to your face when you think about it, right? Just the atmosphere," Schwarber said. "And it's something that you want, you don't realize how lucky you are as a player to have a fanbase like this."
Schwarber says Red Sox fans are crazy -- but in a good way.
Cora and infielder Travis Shaw agree, with Shaw writing on Twitter, "Fenway........ you are AMAZING! We feel the energy. Absolutely electric!"
Cora has spoken all year of the importance of protecting their turf and giving the best fans in baseball a reason to be engaged, and of all the surprises during this unexpected run towards another World Series, the biggest might not be Kiké Hernández, or a bullpen that keeps finding a way, but the return of an overwhelmingly hostile Fenway Park.
The ballpark has already been the site of two eliminations -- the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game and the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series -- and Boston has a chance to make it three this week.
Could the Red Sox’ biggest advantage in the ALCS be in the stands? The raucous Fenway crowd appears to be a legitimate X-factor against the Astros, and with Boston now positioned to compete for one of the city's most unexpected championships of this insane two-decade run, the Red Sox could use a little help over the finish line. That's where the fans come in -- pack the park, and let's see where this journey ends.
The area coming alive has been great for more than just the players because they aren't just showing up inside the park. Business is booming outside, and it's helping a lot of local establishments. Bars in the Fenway area have been slammed, especially on Landsdowne Street right next to the ballpark. Restaurants, too, and that includes the sausage stands.
A lot of people have been grabbing a bite to eat with friends and family before heading into the stadium, which is a great boost for business, of course.
And let's not forget vendors selling Red Sox shirts, hats and other merchandise. A lot of people want to take part in this championship series excitement, and they're coming from all over New England to do it.
“We came down from New Hampshire because this is like a historic team," Mark Ledoux said. "This is the first time in major league baseball that a team has hit three grand slams in a post season. Ever! I mean that’s huge!”
Suffice to say, the Red Sox winning momentum is helping postseason tourism in the area with a lot of Boston fans wanting to get in on the action.
The Red Sox could advance to the World Series -- their fifth since 2004 -- with victories at Fenway Park in Games 4 and 5 on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Nick Pivetta will get the start on the mound for Boston Tuesday night, as the Red Sox look to keep the good times rolling. First pitch is at 8:08 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report