Jackie Bradley drove a dagger into the Houston Astros with an 8th inning grand slam, joining a list of Boston Red Sox ALCS heroes.
Every season this century in which the Boston Red Sox have won a World Series has featured a memorable grand slam in the ALCS to vault the team into the Fall Classic. Jackie Bradley Jr. may join that legacy after providing a backbreaking blast in Game 3 against the Houston Astros.
The Red Sox held a one-run lead entering the 8th when the Astros called upon their closer. Maybe they thought they could get two innings out of Roberto Osuna or they may have felt they couldn’t wait to utilize their best reliever with the heart of Boston’s order coming up.
Osuna was probably their best available option at the time but he was hardly sharp on this occasion. He allowed two of the first four hitters he faced to reach on base hits before a slider to Brock Holt dove in a bit too much to bounce off the batter’s foot. Osuna’s unraveling continued when he plunked Mitch Moreland with a 96 mph fastball up and in to force in a run.
Bradley capped off the meltdown by crushing a grand slam deep to right field. The dagger put the Red Sox ahead 8-2, sucking the energy out of the home crowd in Houston.
The Game 3 victory put the Red Sox back in the driver’s seat. This series is far from over yet we can’t help but notice that all three trips to the World Series the Red Sox have made since 2004 wouldn’t have been possible without game-changing grand slams in the ALCS.