On the brink of history, Brock Holt paced through the visitors’ dugout in the ninth inning Monday night with a request of his teammates: “Get me up. I need a home run for the cycle.”
The Red Sox were about to close out a 16-1 win against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS. Yankee Stadium was quiet and mostly empty. Holt was due up fourth. His last at-bat, if his teammates earned him one, meant nothing to the game or series. It meant a lot to him.
Ian Kinsler’s two-out walk brought up Holt. On the first pitch from backup catcher Austin Romine, who took the mound in the ninth, Holt hooked a 79.1-mph offering into the rightfield seats, completing the first cycle in postseason history.
“You get a little antsy when a position player is on the mound,” Holt said. “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. 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. That was probably the first time I’ve ever tried to do that. I rounded the bases, and seeing everyone going nuts in the dugout was a pretty cool moment for me.”
Holt went 4-for-6 with five RBIs and three runs scored.
Half of Holt’s cycle came in Boston’s seven-run fourth, when he led off with a single against Luis Severino and capped the scoring with a two-run triple off Chad Green. Then came an eighth-inning RBI double to right-center.
That set the stage for Holt’s dugout plea in the ninth.
“Usually when stuff like that is going on, you don’t really talk about it,” Andrew Benintendi said. “Everybody knows, but they don’t talk about it. Brock is going around, ‘Get me up. I need a homer.’ He wasn’t shy about it. Everybody was rooting for him.”
Holt missed much of 2016-17 because of concussion and vertigo issues but returned to his utility role this year, playing at least five games at all four infield spots, plus left and rightfield.
He found out he would start Monday when Alex Cora shot him a text Sunday night. Holt, knowing his career numbers against Severino (1-for-15, six strikeouts), responded: “Are you sure?”
Cora was, and Holt made him look awfully smart. “This is one I’ll remember for a long time,” Holt said. “It’s a really special night. I don’t think it sank in. Whenever you say first player ever to do something, I mean, that’s crazy to even think about.’’