BOSTON – (Staff Report from Fenway Park) – What kind of series in this Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros series shaping up to be? Boston’s Game 4 starter Rick Porcello looked amazing in a solid 8th inning in relief. Everything else was an adventure.
The Red Sox evened the American League Championship Series (ALCS) with a 7-5 victory in Game 2 at Fenway Park. The series now shifts to Houston for three games, scheduled Tuesday-through-Thursday, before the series might return to Boston next weekend for Games 6 and 7, if necessary.
- A 4.2 innings outing by Boston A-No. 2 pitcher David Price, yet to register a W in the postseason.
- Mid-game, word spread that Chris Sale, Boston A-No. 1 starter, was hospitalized with a stomach bug.
- Sox 2B Ian Kinsler has struck out 10 times in 17 postseason at bats. He is hitting .235
- Another shakey-at-best “save” by Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, after allowing one run on two hits in his 1.0 inning relief effort and who’s allowed four runs over his 3.5 innings of work this postseason.
MVP candidate Mookie Betts and left fielder Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox on the scoreboard in the 1st inning, Betts with a lead-off double and Benintendi with an RBI single, then scoring himself on a Rafael Devers RBI base hit to left.
“We were very aggressive tonight, swinging at first pitches, first-pitch fastballs in the zone,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “Seems like doing that then he (Astros starter Gerrit Cole) started going to his breaking ball stuff. But we did a good job attacking him right away.”
After Houston evened the score at 2-2 in the 2nd inning on a George Springer two-RBI double to right field, the Astros put up another pair of runs when left-fielder Marwin Gonzalez homered to the Green Monster seats in left, scoring first baseman Yuli Gurriel.
In the Red Sox half of the 3rd inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. gave Boston a 5-4 lead when he hit a three-run, bases-clearing double down the left field line, scoring Xander Bogaerts, Steve Pearce and Devers.
Boston starter David Price pitched 4.2 innings of baseball and he allowed four runs on five hits with four walks and a home run. He threw 80 pitches with 50 for strikes and departed the game with his team up, 5-4. Boston middle relievers Matt Barnes (1.1 inning, 1K) and Ryan Braiser (1.0 inning, 1 walk) pitched well over the 5th to 7th innings, but Porcello struck-out two Astros batters in the 8th inning and looked impressive.
Betts singled-handily added an insurance run for the Red Sox in the 7th inning without even putting the ball in play. Betts walked to lead-off the inning, advanced to second base on a wild pitch, then to third on a passed ball that got by Houston’s Martin Maldonado who struggled handling Lance McCullers’ knuckle-curve balls. Betts scored on another passed ball when Xander Bogaerts was batting with two outs.
Houston starter Gerrit Cole took the loss after pitching 6.0 innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits and two base-on-balls. He threw a solid game, tossing 90 pitches with 56 for strikes.
GAME NOTES: Boston listed its Game 3 starter as TBD, but Manager Alex Cora announced in the postgame interview sessions that he will go with Nathan Eovaldi against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. The game is schduled for Minute Maid Park in Houston on Tuesday, October 16 at 5:09pm ET) … Eovaldi pitched Game 3 against the New York Yankees in the Bronx and Rick Porcello took the mound in Game 4 (8:39 pm ET), after a relief appearance, just as he made this evening. … Houston’s Charlie Morton is scheduled to pitch Game 4 on Wednesday, Oct. 17th. … No starters have been bnamed for Game 5, scheduled for Thursday, October 18th in Houston (8:09 pm ET). … Marwin Gonzalez’ HR tonight gave Houston their 14th straight postseason game with a homer, an MLB record. … This series marks the first time since 2013 that the ALCS is tied at 1-1. Back in ’13, the Sox were tied with the Detroit Tigers after the first two games of the AL finale. … Boston game 1 starter Chris Sale was reportedly admitted to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, being treated for a stomach ailment, according to reports by TBS game broadcast and MLB. The Red Sox later confirmed by twitter message, stating, “Boston LHP Chris Sale reported a stomach illness today and was admitted to MGH for observation this afternoon. He will be kept overnight for evaluation and any further updates will be released when available.”