Alex Cora Recalls Alex Verdugo Joke After Key ALCS Game 3 At-Bat

Verdugo got the Game 3 party started in the second inning

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The Red Sox blew Game 3 of the American League Championship Series open in the second inning, and they never looked back en route to a 12-3 win over the Astros at Fenway Park.

But given the loud nature of that six-run frame, it’s easy to forget it all started with a hard-earned walk.

Alex Verdugo saw 11 pitches from José Urquidy in his first at-bat Monday night and eventually drew a one-out base on balls. From there, six consecutive Red Sox reached base, including Kyle Schwarber, whose grand slam stretched Boston’s lead over Houston to 6-0.

Verdugo’s table-setting at-bat was the subject of praise from Alex Cora after the game. Ironically enough, the Sox manager a few days prior gave the young outfielder grief for his recent lack of walks.

“I was joking with Alex a few days ago that his last walk was, like, four months ago it seems like it, right?” Cora told reporters, as transcribed by ASAP Sports. “He has done an amazing job getting hits and hitting righties, but he hasn’t walked, and that’s part of what he does, just get on base. For him to be able to start that way, it was huge.”

Verdugo walked in each of the first three games of the ALCS. But Cora’s friendly chirp was grounded, as the 25-year-old prior to the best-of-seven series against the Astros hadn’t walked since Sept. 6.

The Red Sox currently are stringing together smart at-bats from top to bottom. While Boston continues to put the pressure on Houston, this aggressive approach hasn’t stripped the club of patience in the batter’s box or led to a series of bail-outs for Astros pitchers.

Schwarber, Kiké Hernández and the like are receiving ample praise for putting the ball in the seats, and deservedly so. But others, like Verdugo, also deserve recognition for creating traffic on the basepaths.

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