By Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) – What a win for the Red Sox! An 8-2 romp in Houston against the defending World Series champions.  Lots of thoughts on this one, so let’s get to it:

    • The beauty of postseason baseball is you just never know who might be the hero and Game 3 gave us many
    • Jackie Bradley, Jr. had 19 regular season appearances with the bases loaded during the regular season. He had a single and one walk. In Game 2, he had a three-run double and in Game 3, he crushed a grand slam. He hit .234 during the regular season and was 3-for-20 with 8 strikeouts and 0 HR and 0 RBI vs Houston. Hard not to feel good for a kid who has been hammered on sports talk radio about his hitting and should have been shipped out. Kudos to Dave Dombrowski for keeping him.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    • Steve Pearce breaks a 2-2 tie when he crushed a pitch from Dallas Keuchel to deep left field for his first-ever playoff home run. Pearce becomes the 5th-oldest Red Sox player to homer in the postseason at 35 years, 186 days. The others? Don Baylor, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Yaz.

Steve Pearce, Mookie Betts (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    • Nathan Eovaldi has been a postseason stud on the mound. A strong ALDS Game 3 start in New York (7 IP 5H 1R 0BB 5K) was followed up with another as Eovaldi worked 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. Pretty special to watch, especially in his hometown Houston in front of numerous friends and family.

Nathan Eovaldi in Game Three of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    • Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland add to the list of contributors with back-to-back, pinch hit “hit by pitch” at-bats in the 8th to set up JBJ’s grand slam. File that under the “wear it” and “whatever it takes” moments.
    • I’ve watched the Tony Kemp catch over and over and I believe that the ball hit the mesh screening or bar on the left field wall. Didn’t think so when watching it live. So, I can see how it may or may not have been reversed when the Sox challenged it. But, my question is – how could the MLB review take only a minute? I slowed it down, blew it up, and watched it over and over! I assume MLB has all kinds of angles, slo-mos, etc. How could that decision come down so quick? Maybe the baseball gods took care of it with Pearce going deep his next time up.

Tony Kemp (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

  • Scoring first is important in any sport these days, but it seems huge for this Sox team. Boston was 74-15 in the regular season when getting the game’s first run and is 5-0 in the postseason. When opponents scored first in the regular season, the Sox were 34-39. During the postseason, Sox are 0-2 when opponent scores first.
  • Per MLB, the winner of Game 3 of the ALCS when teams were tied 1-1 has gone on to win the ALCS 16 of the 21 previous times that it’s happened.
  • I agree with Alex Cora in that the Red Sox appeared to grow up in Game 3 of the ALDS in New York. I felt like the players relaxed after the 16 run outburst and said, “Ok, we can do this” and they’ve been good since. Confidence is such a big word – to me – in sports. Boston’s seems to be growing daily.
  • Cora also said that the key to beating the Yankees in New York and the Astros in Houston was/is keeping the ball in the ballpark. So far, the Sox are 3-0 on the road and have out-homered NY/Houston 4-0.
  • This series far from over. Porcello vs Morton in Game 4 Wednesday night. At least we know worst-case scenario for the Sox is the series can’t end in Houston.
  • Cora said this after the game about Chris Sale, who re-joined the Sox Monday after coming down with a stomach bug/virus/issue – in case you missed it:

Cora: “So with Sale, this is what he said, “I’m good enough.” He didn’t throw bullpen today (Tuesday). He’ll go out there tomorrow (Wednesday). And then we’ll go from there.”

Q: “You think Sale could throw a bullpen tomorrow (Wednesday) and then pitch the next day (Thursday, Game 5)?”

Cora: “He’ll throw a bullpen and we’ll go from there.”