Game 1 of the American League Championship Series didn’t live up to the hype Saturday night, but the Houston Astros probably couldn’t care less.
In a game that featured seven combined hits between the two ball clubs, the Boston Red Sox fell to the reigning World Series champions 7-2 in a lousy loss at Fenway Park.
Chris Sale didn’t have his best stuff. The left-hander logged only four innings in which he allowed two runs on one hit with an uncharacteristic four walks.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall in an 0-1 hole in the ALCS.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox couldn’t get anything going in the best-of-seven series opener. Between Sale’s underwhelming start, quiet bats and questionable calls, it was a night to forget for the home team.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale noticeably was not his usual self from the get-go, as his fastball was topping out in the lower 90s. Still, the left-hander managed to toss a scoreless first inning despite allowing a lead-off walk to George Springer. The second inning, however, wasn’t as kind to Boston’s starter.
Sale made quick work of the first two batters of the frame, but command issues led to a two-out walk, a hit batter and another base on balls. Springer proceeded to make Sale pay, lining a two-RBI single to give the Astros an early lead.
Sale would settle in, recording the final out of the second before tossing scoreless third and fourth innings. But after accumulating 86 pitches through a shaky outing, the veteran southpaw wouldn’t see the fifth.
— Joe Kelly was the first out of the bullpen in relief of Sale and tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning. The right-hander stayed on for the sixth and hit Alex Bregman with a pitch to lead off the inning. Kelly then induced Yuli Gurriel ground ball, but an Eduardo Nunez error allowed each runner to reach safely.
Kelly responded with two quick outs, but he couldn’t get out of the inning unscathed, as Carlos Correa looped an RBI single to give Houston a 3-2 lead.
— Matt Barnes replaced Kelly following Correa’s RBI knock and logged the final out of the sixth. The right-hander came back out for the seventh and worked around two walks to throw a scoreless inning.
— Ryan Brasier managed to keep the Astros off the scoreboard in the eighth despite hitting Tyler White to lead off the inning and issuing a one-out walk to Correa.
— Brandon Workman got the call in the ninth, but he wasn’t long for the inning. Josh Reddick rudely greeted the right-hander with a solo blast to make it 4-2 Astros.
Workman’s struggles continued as he allowed one-out walks to Jose Altuve and Bregman before allowing a three-run shot to Gurriel that only gets out of the yard at Fenway.
Tony Kemp followed the Gurriel round-tripper with a double down the right-field line, ending Workman’s night.
— Heath Hembree followed Workman and got the Red Sox out of the messy frame without further damage.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox didn’t do damage until the fifth, and what an inning it was. Steve Pearce led off with a single before things got off the rails a bit for Astros starter Justin Verlander. After striking out Brock Holt, Verlander walked three straight batters capped off by a Mitch Moreland base-on-balls to plate Pearce.
Mookie Betts bailed out Verlander after the Moreland walk, grounding out on the first pitch for the second out of the inning and leaving things up to Andrew Benintendi. The left fielder didn’t have to do anything to plate Boston’s second run, though, as Jackie Bradley Jr. scampered home on a wild pitch.
That would be all for the Red Sox in the fifth, as a questionable strike-three call on Benintendi ended the inning and prompted Alex Cora’s ejection.
— Betts and Xander Bogaerts were the only other Red Sox players to record hits, both singles.
— Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Pearce, Holt, Nunez, Bradley and Sandy Leon all went hitless. Both Moreland and Christian Vazquez, who entered the game off the bench, also failed to record a hit.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Hey, that guy looks familiar.
The Red Sox and Astros will square off in Game 2 on Sunday night. David Price is set to get the ball for Boston opposite Houston right-hander Gerrit Cole. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:09 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports