Another grand slam and Red Sox torch Astros

Automatically taking 3-0 pitches, under nearly all circumstances, has never made a lot of sense.

One such situation comes to mind: Tie game, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. When a walk would win the game.

OK; down by a run, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, take on 3-0. That makes two.

Otherwise … if he pipes it, you whale it.

Watch the hitter who is ordered to take a 3-0 pitch, for no other reason beyond upholding a strategic tradition. He’ll linger outside the box for an extra second. His face will contort into a half-grimace.

And on his way to first, he’ll flip his bat aside as if he were thinking how he may as well have tossed it to the batboy after ball three.

So it was downright exhilarating to see Kyle Schwarber drill Jose Urquidy’s 3-0 offering deep into Section 3 on Monday night.

Fenway Park erupted in celebration. The Red Sox had a 6-0 lead. The Houston Astros’ collective shoulders sagged just a bit.

Game 3 of the American League Championship Series was, essentially, over.

Fans with allegiances to neither team called up ESPN on their remote controls and settled in for some football.

The Red Sox left the Astros dazed and bewildered. They now lead the series 2-1 and have a shot at closing it out without the inconvenience of one more flight to Houston.

Getting hot at the perfect moment accounts for more than one championship trophy resting in what the sharpies considered the wrong trophy case. The grind of a big-league season is typically measured in waves of momentum.

The Baltimore Orioles, perennial leader in bad mo, saw their good mo for 2021 disappear after three days at Fenway to start their season.

Any surveys taken after that opening weekend showed New England’s confidence in the Red Sox resting about six feet deep. How could the Red Sox compete with the Rays, the greatest low-money franchise in modern baseball history, or the Yankees, whose player trillion-dollar player payroll bought them a one-game exit from the postseason.

If someone tells you they had faith in the Red Sox after going 0-3 against Baltimore, trust nothing else that escapes those lips.

They are most comfortable cruising beneath everyone’s radar. That’s why Alex Cora admonished Eduardo Rodriguez for mocking Houston’s Carlos Correa’s watch-tapping gloat after a Game 1 homer.

“We don’t act that way,” Cora said.

At this point, they don’t need to.

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