ALCS GAME 5: RED SOX 4, ASTROS 1

Season over: Red Sox continue to dominate, beat Astros 4-1 in Game 5 to clinch AL pennant

Justin Verlander had a rough outing. Elsa/Getty Images

Boston's offense continued to overpower the Astros in Game 5, backing up a dominant start from David Price to win Game 5 of the ALCS 4-1, eliminating the Houston Astros from the 2018 postseason and sending the Red Sox to the World Series.

The Astros offense simply had no answer for Price in Game 5, while the Red Sox were able to do damage against Justin Verlander to win the series. Verlander went six innings, during which he allowed two home runs, one a solo shot to J.D. Martinez and the other a game-defining three-run home run by Rafael Devers. Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo homer late, but it would be a futile run in the loss.

Verlander got the win-or-go-home Game 5 started in the top of the first and was able to do something the Astros hadn't done in the three previous games; keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the first inning. Verlander was able to get two quick pop outs and then work around a two-out walk to get through the first frame. Jose Altuve got the first hit of the night in the bottom of the inning, a two-out single, but would be left stranded there with Price striking out Carlos Correa to end the inning.

A rare error by Alex Bregman allowed Boston to get a runner on first in the top of the second, then Boston got a two-out single to put runners on first and second, followed by a walk to load the bases, but Verlander was able to strike out Mookie Betts to strand all three. Yuli Gurriel led off the bottom of the inning with a single but would be unable to advance with Price retiring the next three in order.

J.D. Martinez, after getting saved by the umpire on what should have been a strike three, took the next pitch to the Crawford Boxes to give Boston a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Price meanwhile made it a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to send things on to the fourth.

Verlander was able to get a three up, three down inning of his own in the top of the fourth. Gurriel made it 2-for-2 on the night with a two-out double in the bottom of the inning, but Price would get a strikeout to strand him again.

Martinez continued to hit Verlander well, getting a two-out single in the top of the fifth, but Verlander would erase that with a lineout to end the top half. Price continued to match Verlander inning for inning, putting the Astros down in order yet again in the bottom of the inning.

Verlander allowed a leadoff double to start the sixth, then a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. That set up Rafael Devers who delivered for Boston with a huge three-run homer to make it 4-0 Boston. Houston continued to get shutout on offense in the bottom half of the inning, with Price adding another 1-2-3 inning to his dominant night.

Verlander's night was done after the four-run six innings of work, and first out of Houston's bullpen was Roberto Osuna, who had a quick inning to keep the score at 4-0. The bottom of the seventh also marked the end of the line for Price, who would end his night with six terrific shutout innings for Boston. Matt Barnes was the first reliever for the Red Sox and watched the lead be trimmed down to three with a two-out solo home run by Gonzalez to make it a 4-1 game. Kemp was next and worked a walk, resulting in another call to the bullpen to bring in Game 3 starter Nathan Eovaldi, who would get the third out.

Osuna made it a multi-inning appearance by returning in the top of the eighth and worked around a one-out double to keep the lead at three runs. Eovaldi stayed in the game for Boston in the bottom of the inning and worked around a two-out single by George Springer to put the Red Sox three outs away.

In the top of the ninth, the Astros stayed with Osuna's hot hand, and he was able to retire the side. Boston went to closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the inning, who get the save to end the game and the Astros' season. 

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TEXANS MAKE SURPRISING CUT

Texans to release prominent player on defense

Zach Cunningham is on his way out of Houston. Composite image by Jack Brame.

According to multiple reports, the Texans are waiving LB Zach Cunningham. Cunningham was benched last Sunday for disciplinary reasons, which reportedly stemmed from a missed COVID test. Cunningham was also benched for a quarter earlier in the season for breaking team rules.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Texans will have to eat his 12.8 million dollar cap hit next season.

Cunningham started in seven of the 10 games he’s played this season recording 67 tackles and a forced fumble. The Texans are at a point where there's hardly anyone left on the team that has any name recognition with what's left of the fan base. And now the Texans have another position that will have to be addressed this offseason.

Cunningham will likely command a lot of attention from other teams interested in his services.

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