ALCS GAME 3: RED SOX 8, ASTROS 2

Red Sox feast on Houston's bullpen, win 8-2 in Game 3 to take 2-1 ALCS lead

Roberto Osuna gave up a grand slam to blow the game open for Boston. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Being back in the confines of their home park was not enough for the Astros on Tuesday night, with the offense suffering a stagnant night and an implosion by the bullpen allowing the Red Sox to get an 8-2 victory and go up 2-1 in the ALCS. 

Dallas Keuchel bounced back from a bad first inning, but it would be the bullpen that allowed Boston to take the game on Tuesday, with Joe Smith allowing a go-ahead solo home run in the sixth, then Roberto Osuna having a meltdown in the eighth and allowing five runs including a grand slam which put the game out of reach.

Boston came out swinging in the top of the first inning, getting back-to-back singles off of Keuchel to start the game. J.D. Martinez put Boston on top next with an RBI-double to make it 1-0 with no outs. An RBI-groundout allowed Boston to score another with the Astros seceding a run in place of the first out, but that moved Martinez to third, though Keuchel would get a groundout and lineout leave him stranded there and limit the damage to a 2-0 deficit. Jose Altuve gave Houston their first hit of the day with a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, followed by Alex Bregman who made it back-to-back singles. A groundball from Yuli Gurriel forced Bregman out at second but left runners on the corners which set up Marwin Gonzalez for an RBI-single to trim the lead to 2-1 before Nathan Eovaldi was able to end the inning.

Keuchel had a much better top of the second, getting Boston in order on a couple of fly outs and a groundout. Eovaldi had a similarly effective inning, getting through the bottom of the Astros order 1-2-3. 

In the top of the third, Keuchel was able to get two quick outs before issuing two walks to give Boston another scoring threat, but Tony Kemp saved a couple of runs with an amazing leaping catch against the left-field scoreboard for the final out. George Springer led off the bottom of the inning with a single through the infield shift but would be out at second on a fielder's choice for the first out. Bregman worked a walk next to put runners on first and second, then both moved up a bag on a groundout, but would be stranded there with Eovaldi getting a flyout to end the inning. 

Keuchel allowed an infield single to start the top of the fourth but was able to erase it with two fly outs and a groundout. Eovaldi, in the bottom of the inning, was able to put the Astros down in order on just nine pitches. 

Continuing to distance himself from the bad first inning, Keuchel was able to get three vintage groundouts to get the top of Boston's order in a three up, three down top of the fifth. Jose Altuve came back from a 0-2 count to work a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning, then came all the way around to score and tie the game on an RBI double by Alex Bregman that could've been a groundout but instead made it past Rafael Devers at third base for Boston. Eovaldi would leave Bregman stranded on second to end the inning and send the 2-2 game to the sixth. 

Houston went to their bullpen in the top of the sixth, bringing in Joe Smith who was only able to get one out before Boston took the lead back on a solo home run by Steve Pearce, making it 3-2. Tony Sipp came in next and worked around a walk to end the half-inning. Boston left Eovaldi in the game in the bottom of the inning, and he was able to work around a two-out infield single by Carlos Correa by getting a flyout to end the inning. 

Ryan Pressly was next out of the Astros bullpen for the top of the seventh, and with a little defensive help from a great barehanded play by Alex Bregman, was able to get a 1-2-3 inning including a couple of big strikeouts. Boston finally made the move to their bullpen in the bottom of the inning, bringing in Ryan Brasier who got two quick outs before a perfect bunt-single by Altuve to get a runner on for Bregman, but Bregman would fly out to end the inning.

Trying to keep it a one-run game, Houston went to closer Roberto Osuna in the top of the eighth to face the middle of Boston's order but he fell apart and loaded the bases by hitting a batter with two outs, then hit another batter to give Boston a bigger lead at 4-2. With the bases still loaded, Osuna left a fastball in the zone for Jackie Bradley Jr. who blew the game open with a grand slam to make it an 8-2 game. Collin McHugh came in for the final out of the inning. Matt Barnes was next on the mound for Boston in the bottom of the eighth and got a couple of outs before the Red Sox went to Joe Kelly who ended the inning. 

Hector Rondon took over in the top of the ninth and was able to keep the Red Sox from inflicting any more damage to send things to the bottom of the inning. Eduardo Rodriguez was the final reliever of the night for Boston, who closed out the game and the big win.

Game 4: The Astros will have to shrug today's loss off quick and try to tie the series back up tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:39 PM Wednesday night and the game can be seen on TBS. We'll get another matchup of starters from the backend of both rotations, with Charlie Morton taking the bump for the Astros while the Red Sox send out Rick Porcello. Morton will be heavily rested, which will hopefully translate to a strong pitching performance to stop the recent success of Boston's offense. The Astros will need the offense to show up tomorrow and get a win to turn the ALCS into a best-of-3. 

 

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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