The Boston Red Sox’s bid for an American League Division Series comeback came up just short.
The Red Sox were six outs away from forcing a Game 5 against the Houston Astros, but the 2017 AL East champions ultimately fell 5-4 on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Boston was well-positioned for victory when it held a 3-2 advantage in the eighth inning, but its bullpen struggles late in the ballgame allowed the Astros to surge for a series-clinching win.
With the loss, the Red Sox’s 2017 season is over, while Houston moves on to the ALCS.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox were riding high when Andrew Benintendi smacked a go-ahead, two-run home run in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for Boston, the rookie’s blast wasn’t enough to extend the series.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Rafael Devers made things exciting when he boomed an inside-the-park home run to bring Boston within one. That would be the only excitement in the ninth inning, though, as Astros closer Ken Giles eventually shut the door.
ON THE BUMP
— The Astros’ first-inning prowess continued against Boston’s starter Rick Porcello. George Springer led off the game with a ringing double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a Josh Reddick walk, Jose Altuve grounded into a double play which plated Houston’s first run of the game.
Porcello got off to a less-than-ideal start in the second inning, as Yuli Gurriel led off the frame with a triple down the right-field line. Porcello responded by striking out Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, but Springer ruined the right-hander’s chance of a clean inning by lacing an RBI single to left. Houston then loaded the bases, but Porcello got Carlos Correa to go down on strikes to end the messy inning.
The third inning was much kinder to Porcello, as he tossed a scoreless frame despite allowing a double to Gurriel. But after three laborious innings of work, Porcello’s day was done.
— Chris Sale entered in the fourth and posted the Red Sox’s first 1-2-3 inning of the game with a strikeout. The left-hander responded with three more scoreless frames in which he struck out five while only allowing three base runners.
Sale came out for his fifth inning in the eighth, but Alex Bregman spoiled the lefty’s outing when he led off the frame with a game-tying solo blast. Sale recorded two outs in the inning before being yanked from the game.
— Craig Kimbrel entered with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth. After Springer drew a walk, Reddick ripped a seeing-eye RBI single to give the Astros a 4-3 lead. Kimbrel stayed on in the ninth and allowed one run on two hits before being pulled with two outs in the inning.
— Addison Reed logged the final out of the ninth.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Benintendi (2-for-4) provided the big hit of the afternoon, a go-ahead, two-run home run in the sixth inning.
— Devers went 2-for-3, including an inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning.
— Hanley Ramirez continued to be Boston’s best hitter in the postseason, posting a 2-for-4 line.
— Xander Bogaerts (1-for-3) clubbed a solo blast in the first inning.
— Mitch Moreland went 1-for-3 with a double.
— Mookie Betts reached base via single.
— Dustin Pedroia, Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley Jr. all went hitless in the game.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Red Sox will embark on their offseason, while the Astros move onto the ALCS to face either the New York Yankees or Cleveland Indians.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images