Astros Use Late Inning Heroics to Beat Red Sox and Advance to ALCS
Monday afternoon, the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox slogged their way through another four-hour ballgame that ended up deciding the fate of their American League Division Series. The Astros scored three runs in the final two innings to defeat the Red Sox 5 to 4, to win the series 3 games to 1.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch turned to starting pitcher Justin Verlander for some crucial middle relief, as a steady rain fell, after Charlie Morton was unable to last five full innings in his start. Verlander pitched just over two innings before giving way to Ken Giles in the eighth.
To start the game, both teams had scored a run a piece after the first inning, and the Astros took a 2-1 lead after adding an additional run in the second inning.
However, the Red Sox took the lead for the first time after adding two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Verlander had just replaced Morton on the mound and Andrew Benintendi worked a 2-2 count before smacking an off-speed pitch into the right field stands of Fenway Park for a two-run homer.
Boston's 3-2 lead would last only until the top of the eighth inning. Leading off the inning, Alex Bregman hit a homer over the Green Monster to tie the game at 3-3 (pictured). Then, with one out, Evan Gattis singled to put another runner on base. Gattis would be lifted for pinch runner Cameron Maybin. The next hitter, Brian McCann lined out for the second out of the inning and Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was brought into the game to replace Chris Sale, who pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief.
Kimbrel walked the next hitter, George Springer, on five pitches to put runners at first and second. That brought up Josh Reddick with a chance to give the Astros the lead. Reddick worked the count full and then hit a hard grounder, opposite field, into left to score Maybin.
A pinch hit, RBI double, from Carlos Beltran added another Astros run in the top of the ninth inning. And while the Red Sox added an inside-the-park home run from Rafael Devers, the Astros closer, Ken Giles closed out the game to seal the series win.
Verlander earned his second win of the ALDS and Giles picked up his first save of the 2017 postseason. Chris Sale took the loss for the Red Sox.
The Astros advance to the American League Championship Series and will play the winner of the ALDS series between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. The ALCS starts October 13 and you can hear the Astros games in Lubbock on SportsRadio 1340 The Fan.