Three down, one to go.
The Boston Red Sox arrived in Houston with their American League Championship Series with the Astros tied at one game apiece. But Alex Cora’s club has made themselves at home in Minute Maid Park, as they followed up their 8-2 win in Game 3 with an 8-6 victory Wednesday in Game 4.
Boston and Houston exchanged leads in the early innings, but Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run home run in the sixth put the Red Sox on top for good. The Red Sox used six pitchers to record 27 outs, and the Astros strung together a furious ninth-inning rally against Craig Kimbrel. But Andrew Benintendi made a diving catch on Alex Bregman’s sinking line drive to secure the win for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox now lead the series 3-1.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The game started with a controversy that will be talked about for some time, and the two teams exchanged blows throughout, but the Red Sox eventually came out on top and grabbed a 3-1 series lead.
ON THE BUMP
— The first inning was anything but smooth for Rick Porcello. After getting Bregman to ground out to open the frame, George Springer laced a single to right field, and Jose Altuve then crushed what appeared to be a two-run home run to right field. Mookie Betts gave chase and leaped at the wall to try and rob the home run, but his glove collided with a fan, causing all hell to break loose. Umpire Joe West immediately called fan interference and went to review it. While it appeared Betts went into the stands and therefore it would be a home run, there was not enough evidence to overturn the call, meaning Altuve was ruled out and Springer had to go back to first.
Porcello hit the next batter to put runners on first and second, but he got Yuli Gurriel to fly out to end the inning.
Houston got to Porcello in the second when Josh Reddick led off with a double to left and scored on an RBI single by Carlos Correa.
The Astros continued to get to Porcello in the third. First, Springer opened the inning with a solo home run to right field to cut the Red Sox’s lead to 3-2.
Altuve followed by ringing a double off the left field wall and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Reddick to tie the game at three.
Houston took the lead in the fourth when Tony Kemp launched a solo home run to right field.
Porcello made it through the fourth, but was lifted after allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one.
— Joe Kelly got the ball in the fifth inning, but he wasn’t much better than Porcello. The right-hander gave up a one-out single to Gurriel and moved to second when Kelly bounced a ball in the dirt. With two outs, Kelly was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but Correa laced an RBI single to left, making it 5-4 Houston.
— Eduardo Rodriguez started the sixth and walked Kemp to open the frame before being lifted for Ryan Brasier.
— Brasier came on to face the top of Houston’s order and retired Bregman, Springer and Altuve without issue. The right-hander came back out for the seventh and surrendered a leadoff single to Marwin Gonzalez. After getting the next two batters, Correa shot a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third to end Brasier’s night.
— Matt Barnes came in and struck out Tyler White to get out of the jam.
— Kimbrel entered in the eighth to record the six-out save. Kemp greeted him with a base hit to right field, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Kimbrel then hit Bregman and gave up a double to Springer. Altuve drove in Bregman with an RBI groundout to short, but the Sox closer struck out Gonzalez to end the eighth.
Kimbrel got the first out of the ninth but then walked Reddick and Correa to bring the potential winning run to the plate. Brian McCann hit a long fly ball to the warning track that Betts hauled in for the second out, but Kimbrel walked Kemp to load the bases for Bregman. Bregman laced a line drive to left field that was ticketed for a base hit, but Benintendi made a diving catch to end the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Boston once again jumped on the Astros early. Charlie Morton hit Betts to leadoff the game, and he moved to second on an Andrew Benintendi groundout. After a walk to J.D. Martinez put runners on first and second, Morton spiked a breaking ball that allowed the runners to move up 90 feet. The right-hander struck out Xander Bogaerts for out No. 2, but Rafael Devers picked him up by lacing a two-run single to left-center field.
— The Red Sox extended their lead back to two in the third when Benintendi led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by Bogaerts that chased Morton from the game.
— Bogaerts came through again with two outs in the fifth when he ripped an RBI single to center field to score Benintendi and tie the game at four.
— After the Astros retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth, Boston answered in the sixth. Christian Vazquez shot a two-out double to right-center field that just missed leaving the yard, and Bradley gave the Red Sox the lead by hammering a long home run to right field.
— The Red Sox extended their lead in the seventh. Martinez started the rally with a one-out single and moved to second on a Bogaerts walk. Devers hit what looked to be a 6-3 double play, but Correa failed to touch second, putting runners on second and third with two outs. Ryan Pressly walked Steve Pearce to load the bases, causing A.J. Hinch to go to Lance McCullers Jr. The plan backfired as McCullers walked Brock Holt to force in a run to make it 7-5.
— Boston struck again in the eighth when Betts singled with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single from Martinez.
— Benintendi, Martinez and Bogaerts each had two hits.
— Betts, Devers, Vazquez, Holt and Bradley had one hit apiece.
— Pearce and Mitch Moreland (pinch-hitter) each went hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
This game had everything.
The Red Sox and Astros will face off in Game 5 on Thursday at Minute Maid Park. Houston will send Justin Verlander to the mound, while Boston will counter with David Price. First pitch is set for 8:09 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images