Was Brock Holt trying to hit a home run in his final at-bat Monday night? You bet.
Holt hit for the first cycle in Major League Baseball postseason history Monday as the Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 16-1 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. He completed the feat with a ninth-inning homer off Yankees position player Austin Romine, who was summoned to pitch with the game out of reach.
Holt isn’t exactly known for his power, totaling just 20 home runs in 2,000 career regular-season plate appearances, but Boston’s energetic utility man admitted after the blowout victory that he absolutely was trying to go deep in the final frame to complete the cycle. (He wasn’t aware until his postgame interview that it was the first cycle in MLB playoff history.)
“Well obviously yeah, I knew I needed to hit a home run,” Holt told reporters in New York. “I saw Romine was on the mound, so you get a little antsy when a position player is on the mound. I told everyone, ‘Get me up. I need a home run for a cycle.’ I was going to try to hit a home run, but I figured I’d ground out to first, be out in front of something. But I scooted up in the box a little bit, and I was going to be swinging at anything and try to hook anything. Obviously, you don’t expect to hit a home run, but I was trying to. I was trying to hit a home run. That’s probably the first time I’ve ever tried to do that. I rounded the bases, and seeing everybody going nuts in the dugout was a pretty cool moment for me.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Holt has hit for the cycle. He also accomplished the feat during a regular-season game against the Atlanta Braves in 2015. But Monday’s performance was about more than just hitting a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same game, especially when you consider the stakes and the 30-year-old’s ability to overcome both concussions and vertigo en route to again becoming a productive player for the Red Sox this season.
“This one I’ll remember for a long time,” Holt said. “Obviously, you don’t go into the game expecting to make history or do anything like that, let alone score 16 runs against a good New York Yankee team. So it was a good night overall for everyone. Like I said, this is one I’ll remember for a long time, and hopefully, we can carry this over into (Tuesday).”
So, should Holt have tried to hit a home run in that situation? After all, the Red Sox were leading 14-1 in the ninth inning. It’s a conversation that’s even more interesting when you consider Ron Darling’s comments earlier in the TBS broadcast inferring Boston had broken baseball’s unwritten rules when Andrew Benintendi stole second base with the Red Sox leading 10-1 in the fifth inning.
In any event, the Red Sox’s win gave them a 2-1 lead over the Yankees in the best-of-five ALDS. They’ll look to punch their ticket to the AL Championship Series on Tuesday night when they face CC Sabathia in Game 4.