The Houston Astros Advance to ALCS
The Houston Astros have advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 2005. They beat the Boston Red Sox today 6-5.
The game pitted 14 game winner Charlie Morton against reigning AL Cy Young Award Winner for the Sox, Rick Porcello. Despite the two starters, who didn't last long in this game the two starters who figured into the decision were, Justin Verlander on the winning side and Chris Sale on the losing side.
Verlander was brought into the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with one on and one out, despite Charlie Morton pitching well and holding a 3-2 lead. Sounds like sort of a similar situation and decision by Manager A.J. Hinch that he made yesterday to pull Brad Peacock.
Hinch had said that he would consider using Verlander in Game 4 but wanted to bring him into a clean inning. Well, he didn't do that and much like Francisco Liriano yesterday preceded to give up a go-ahead two run home-run, this time courtesy of Andrew Benintendi. The Sox led 4-3.
On the Red Sox side, Chris Sale was sailing right along until he got to the eighth inning where he was rudely greeted by a solo shot off the bat of Alex Bregman, one of the guys who took him deep in Game 1. The game was tied at 4.
Closer Craig Kimbrel would enter the game for Sale in the inning after he allowed a single to Evan Gattis. Kimbrel walked George Springer and with two outs and two on he engaged in a battle with Josh Reddick. Reddick fought tooth and nail to a three and two count and when Kimbrel tried to dart the outside corner Reddick was ready. He would go right with the pitch beautifully and laced it between short and third to drive in the go-ahead run. 5-4 Astros.
In the ninth with Kimbrel still pitching he found himself in yet another jam. Again, two on, two out and this time it was the wily vet Carlos Beltran at the dish. Much like Reddick before him, he took a Kimbrel pitch on the outside corner and drove it to left field only this one was off the Green Monster. One run scored and the Astros had a HUGE insurance run.
With the Astros closer on the mound in Ken Giles, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers led off and he did so with a bang. He drove one off the center field wall and with Springer attempting to catch it and running into the wall, the ball pinged away from him which allowed Devers to score the inside the park home-run.
Now, on that play my question was, where in the world is right fielder Josh Reddick!? Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez got to the ball in right-center before Reddick did, that was atrocious.
Nevertheless, the Stros still had the lead 6-5 and with nobody on and two outs it was up to the longest tenured Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia would battle Giles hard, laying off tough pitches and fouling off tough pitches but in the end it was Giles who would win the battle and force him to ground out to second base.
The Astros win the series 3 games to 1 against the Red Sox and are moving on to the American League Championship Series. They will await the winner btween the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankess. The Tribe lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 going down from the Bronx tonight.