The Boston Red Sox celebrated manager Alex Cora’s 46th birthday in style, with a 12-3 rout of the Houston Astros.

Boston’s six-run second inning was a main propeller in the blowout win. Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe’s walks, plus a double from J.D. Martinez loaded the bases for the Sox, and Christian Vazquez came through with an opposite field base hit. It looked like Houston got out of the inning with Christian Arroyo’s weak grounder up the middle, but it was bobbled by Jose Altuve at second base — in which he could have turned an inning-ending double play.

Then came Kyle Schwarber, who, down 3-0 in the count, made Jose Urquidy pay with a back-breaking grand slam to make it 6-0. A grand slam that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for an error, in the ALCS, against a team wearing orange and navy, at Fenway? Quite similar to Shane Victorino’s grand slam in Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS that occurred because of Jose Iglesias — who oddly enough, was on the Sox for the end of this season — made a costly error that set up the Victorino slam.

After Hunter Renfroe stole second after a walk, and moved to third after a throwing error from Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, Vazquez added to his night with an RBI single before Christian Arroyo went deep to make it 9-3.

J.D. Martinez then proceeded to go deep in the sixth with a two-run blast, and Rafael Devers added to the slugfest with a solo shot in the eighth.

Eduardo Rodriguez’s strong six innings

E-Rod set the Sox up nicely for Game 4, giving the bullpen some rest as he hurled six three-run innings while fanning seven batsmen. He allowed five hits, one of which was a three-run jack off the bat of Kyle Tucker.

Nick Pivetta will start Game 4.

Bullpen strong

Hansel Robles, Martin Perez, and Hirokazu Sawamura hurling a trio of hitless frames saved even more arms for Game 4.

The Sox will be well-rested for their Game 4 showdown Tuesday night, at 8:08 p.m. EST.

(Photo of Kyle Schwarber by Elsa/Getty Images)

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