Houston came through late

Astros use late offensive surge to take ALCS Game 4 and even series with Red Sox

When they needed it most, Houston's offense finally sprung to life in ALCS Game 4 in Boston to even up the series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Although not technically an elimination game, down 2-1, and with the knowledge of the lack of success of teams that go down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, the Astros knew they needed a win in ALCS Game 4 in a big way. Although they would get the first highlight of the night, things shifted back Boston's way until, in the final two innings, Houston would overtake the Red Sox for the crucial win.

Final Score: Astros 9, Red Sox 2

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 2-2

Winning Pitcher: Kendall Graveman

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Both teams get first-inning homers before runs become scarce

Houston got what they needed in the top of the first inning to grab the early momentum to shake off the two lopsided losses, courtesy of Alex Bregman. He launched a solo homer with two outs to put the Astros in front 1-0, sending Zack Greinke to the mound with a lead. After two quick outs by Greinke in the bottom of the first, though, Boston would quickly shift things back their way, getting a walk followed by a go-ahead two-run homer to make it 2-1 after the first frame.

Things stayed in a stalemate there into the late innings, and over that span, Houston tried to navigate getting a full game out of their strained bullpen and pitching staff. After getting through the first, Greinke would face just two batters in the second, getting one out while allowing a walk, making it through Boston's lineup one time but only getting four outs from them. Brooks Raley was first out of the Astros' bullpen, getting the final two outs of the second inning.

Javier eats up much-needed innings as the game stays close

While the Astros continued to be stymied at the plate by Nick Pivetta, they handed the ball to Cristian Javier, starting in the bottom of the third, hoping to get a few innings out of him. He did his job well, erasing a walk in the third, stranding a one-out triple in the fourth and a one-out double in the fifth. Javier stayed on the mound for the bottom of the sixth to face one more batter, issuing a walk before Phil Maton would come in and sit down three Boston batters in a row to keep it a one-run game.

Astros roar back to take Game 4 and tie series 2-2

Kendall Graveman took over in the bottom of the seventh, and against the 2-4 hitters in Boston's lineup, was able to get a 1-2-3 inning to keep the score put. On the first pitch of the top of the eighth, Jose Altuve finally gave Houston's offense a spark, drilling it for a game-tying solo homer over the Green Monster to make it 2-2.

Graveman kept going in the bottom of that inning, getting two outs to make it five in a row sat down before issuing a two-out walk, which he would erase by getting the third out against the next batter as the tied game went to the ninth. Boston opted to bring in Game 2 starter Nathan Eovaldi out of their bullpen in the top of the ninth, and he was met with a leadoff double by Carlos Correa to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Still on second after two outs and an intentional walk to Yuli Gurriel, Correa looked to Jason Castro to try and come through and bring him home. He did so, getting an RBI single to give the Astros their first lead since that homer back in the top of the first inning and leaving runners on the corners. Jose Altuve loaded the bases against Eovaldi, working a walk as Boston would move on to another reliever to try and end the threat.

Instead, Michael Brantley blew it open on the first pitch he saw, getting a bases-clearing double to extend Houston's lead to four runs. He would score as well, as the runs kept coming on RBI singles by Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker and another on an error, making it a seven-run frame and a 9-2 lead. Already warmed up, Ryan Pressly entered in the bottom of the inning to finish things off, and despite a couple of two-out singles, he would wrap up the massive win for Houston.

Up Next: ALCS Game 5 will get started earlier on Wednesday, with a start time of 4:08 PM Central from Fenway Park in Boston. While not confirmed, the expected pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 1 with Chris Sale for the Red Sox going against Framber Valdez for the Astros.

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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