ALDS Game 4

Bregman, Reddick come up clutch to lead Astros past Red Sox 5-4 and earn a spot in the ALCS

Bregman, Reddick come up clutch to lead Astros past Red Sox 5-4 and earn a spot in the ALCS
Alex Bregman's game-tying homer in the eighth started the Astros rally. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Astros are headed to their first Championship Series appearance since 2005 after clutch hitting from Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick late in Game 4 to completed a thrilling comeback win.

Both teams pushed their chips all in, including bringing their ace pitchers in for relief appearances, but the Astros came on top winning 5-4 in Game 4 and taking the series 3-1. Alex Bregman had a huge homer to tie the game followed by the go-ahead single by Josh Reddick to send the Astros on to the win.

The Astros got on the board first as they have done in every game of this series as Jose Altuve grounded into a double play allowing George Springer to score from third to give the Astros a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Xander Bogaerts answered back for Boston with a solo home run off of Charlie Morton in the bottom of the first to tie the game 1-1.

Springer would give the Astros the lead back in the top of the second with a two-out RBI single to score Yuli Gurriel who tripled earlier in the inning to make it 2-1. The Astros went on to load the bases, but Rick Porcello ended the threat with a strikeout of Carlos Correa. The Red Sox were able to load the bases themselves with no outs in the bottom of the second but were unable to do anything with it as Morton threw back-to-back strikeouts followed by a popout to end the inning.

After finishing three innings, Porcello's day was done and in came Chris Sale from the bullpen to try and keep the Red Sox in the game and keep their season alive. Morton continued to pitch for the Astros into the fifth inning but was pulled in favor of Justin Verlander who made his first relief appearance ever as the Astros tried to beat out the rain and finish the series. Unfortunately, Verlander's first batter would give the Red Sox the lead as Andrew Benintendi launched a two-run go-ahead home run to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

After multiple innings of dominant pitching by Sale, Alex Bregman took advantage of a changeup over the plate and knocked it over the Green Monster, tying the game at 3 in the top of the eighth. Sale faced two more batters, giving up a single to Gattis before getting McCann to line out for out number two, then was pulled in favor of Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel walked Springer before allowing Josh Reddick to put the Astros back in front 4-3 by hitting a single to score Maybin who was pinch running for Gattis.

Verlander bounced back from the homer in the bottom of the fifth and was able to pitch through the seventh without allowing any more runs. The Astros went to Ken Giles in the eighth inning and were able to get a 1-2-3 inning to hold the one-run lead. Carlos Beltran added another insurance run in the top of the ninth, hitting a RBI double off of Kimbrel, prompting a call to the bullpen to bring in Addison Reed who was able to get the final out of the inning.

Giles came back out for the ninth and allowed a home run to Rafael Devers to bring the Red Sox within one, but bounced back from it and was able to get a strikeout and two groundouts to save the 5-4 win. 

Next Up: The Astros will be paying close attention to Game 4 between the Indians and Yankees tonight, as they will face the winner of that series starting on Friday, October 13th. If the Yankees are able to win the series, the Astros will have home-field advantage and host Game 1, while if the Indians win the Astros will head to Cleveland.

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Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

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