NEW YORK — When he stepped to the plate in the second inning, Ryan Kalish struck out on three pitches. When he was up again in the third, he did the same.
Someone must've reminded him who was watching.
With family and friends from his hometown of Shrewsbury, N.J., on hand, Kalish turned his night around in a dramatic way by crushing his first major league home run in the sixth. Recording the milestone against the team he followed growing up meant that much more.
"It's wild, it really was," he said. "When I hit it, I knew it had a chance. And then when it got out, I remember saying to myself, 'Is this real?' Just for a second it kinda felt unreal."
With the souvenir in his locker, a memento that would eventually find its way into the hands of his father, reality had sunk in. Reflecting back, the Red Sox' left fielder was able to recognize how he's matured as a hitter.
The strikeouts, on a big stage and in front of the ones he loved, might've sunk him in the past.
"You gotta wipe the slate clean because you never know what will happen," he added. "In the past, I've been the kind of person who would take himself out of the game [mentally] after striking out two times in a row."
Not anymore. Now he's contributing to big wins on a big stage in a big way.
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