The Red Sox had seen enough of Jose Altuve. The three-homer star of Game One got MVP respect Friday which just left more ducks on the pond for Carlos Correa. The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year did not waste the chance, blasting a homer and driving in four to lead an 8-2 deja vu in Game 2 of the A.L.D.S. The Astros lead the series, 2-0, as the scene switches to Boston this weekend where the Spacemen hope to close this series out, putting chowdah-loving Sawx fans out of their misery for this year.
Correa, Springer celebrate victory
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Just as on Thursday, the Astros wasted no time attacking the lefthanded pitching that is supposed to eat them alive. With two away in the first, Jose Altuve golfed a first-pitch single to left off Drew Pomeranz. After fouling several pitches, Correa hammered a rocket to the train tracks for a 2-0 advantage.
Dallas Keuchel worked around Angel Hernandez' home plate umpiring and three Boston hits to limit the Red Sox to one run over six innings while striking out seven. He received relief help from Chris Devenski, Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles, who allowed a so-what run in the ninth.
Houston added onto their 2-1 edge in the third when George Springer joined the party with a solo homer off Pomeranz into the first row of the right field seats. Alex Bregman then added a double and Altuve spanked an RBI single for a 4-1 lead. That was all for Pomeranz as Carson Smith then David Price, the $217 million reliever, took over.
The Astros largely put away the Sox in the sixth. With Eduardo Rodriguez pitching, Marwin Gonzalez singled and Brian McCann was hit by a pitch. Addison Reed came in for Rodriguez. Springer bounced back to the mound for a fielders choice then Bregman launched a fly down the right field line. Mookie Betts ran it down but flubbed the transition to his throwing hand as Gonzalez crossed with the third run.
Altuve was intentionally walked which gave Correa the chance to double his pleasure. Carlos knifed a double down the left field line while Springer and Altuve hustled across the plate. Evan Gattis closed the onslaught with an RBI single to left.
The Red Sox must have left Houston demoralized but they have one last chance to extend the series on Sunday. Doug Fister (5-9), who went 12-13 as an Astro free agent last season, will get the call for Boston in the 1:30 Central start at Fenway Park. As of Friday, the Astros have not announced who their starter will be, forcing the BoSox to split their scouting between Charlie Morton (14-7), Brad Peacock (13-2) and Lance McCullers (7-4) until A.J. Hinch reveals his hand. It would not be surprising to see either manager use the bullpen at the first sign of trouble.
Only twice in the Astros' history have they won a postseason series in less than the full number of games. Both came in 2005. Therefore, hold onto those Game 5 tickets for Wednesday. They could still be needed.
- Bob Hulsey