Neither Gerrit Cole or David Price had good outings Sunday in the 55-degree New England breeze with the Red Sox emerging as 5-4 leaders for much of the night. Boston expanded their lead late before the Astros staged a ninth-inning rally which fell literally inches short. The final score was 7-5, Red Sox, to even the ALCS at one game apiece.
Betts: Gift run in 7th
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
The series resumes in Houston Tuesday afternoon with a 4:09 p.m. first pitch. Keep in mind that, last year, the Astros lost all three road LCS games at New York while winning all four at home. This year, they won the opener on the road so are now back in the same situation of sweeping their home games to close this out and go to the World Series. If they just take 2-of-3, they would need to win one of two final games in Boston to defend as American League Champs. The pressure is still on the guys in red.
Boston grabbed the early lead in the first inning on a pair of RBI singles by Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. Houston answered in the second on a two-run double to right by George Springer that plated Carlos Correa and Martin Maldonado.
Marwin Gonzalez drilled a two-run homer in the third, taking Price's pitch over the Green Monstah. It set a big league postseason record as the franchise has produced at least one homer in 14 consecutive games. Price allowed five hits and four walks in 4-2/3rd innings.
The prolific Boston batters responded by loading the bases in the third against Cole then Jackie Bradley smacked a bases-clearing double to give Boston the 5-4 edge. Cole settled down to last six innings, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out only five.
Mookie Betts added to the Boston lead in the seventh when he circled the bases on a walk and a wild pitch by Lance McCullers along with two passed balls on Maldonado. Betts then drove in Devers the more traditional way in the eighth against rookie Josh James.
Springer doubled off closer Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the ninth and Jose Altuve clanked a single high off the Monstah for the game's final run. With Alex Bregman in position to tie the game, he hit one high to left field which a circling Benintendi nabbed inches in front of the wall for the final out.
Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 0-0 in playoffs) will toe the rubber for the Astros to start Game 3. He allowed two runs in five innings during a no-decision in Cleveland. Keuchel has only faced the Red Sox four times in his career but he's 0-1 with a 9.15 ERA against them.
The Red Sox have indicated they will pitch righthander Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 1-0), a Houston native who is 1-1 in five starts against the Astros in his career.
- Bob Hulsey