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With the Red Sox’ season on the line, the team had precisely the pitcher it wanted on the mound. Nate Eovaldi entered Game 6 of the ALCS having made five career postseason starts. The Sox had won all of them. In the Red Sox’ season-ending 5-0 defeat Friday night, the streak concluded — though through little fault of the pitcher.

Two days removed from his relief appearance in the ninth inning of Game 4, Eovaldi opened the game without his typical 97-98 m.p.h. velocity. But he said that was by choice rather than because of fatigue.

“Physically I felt good. The other night when I came in in the ninth inning, I was doing too much. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be doing that today,” Eovaldi said. “I wanted to make sure I was executing my pitches, and I felt like we had a good plan coming in.”

After Eovaldi allowed a two-out run on a Yordan Alvarez double in the first inning, he employed the five-pitch mix that made him a 2021 Cy Young candidate to keep the Astros subdued for the duration of his outing. The righthander unsettled Houston’s star-studded lineup with a mix of fastballs, cutters, curveballs, splitters, and sliders, employing the pitches freely in different counts.

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After he failed to strike out any of the first 14 batters of the game, Eovaldi summoned swing-and-mix stuff when his team’s season hung in the balance. With runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth after an Alex Bregman single and Alvarez double, Eovaldi spun a slider that wiped out Carlos Correa, followed by a curveball to knock out Kyle Tucker, and — after an intentional walk to load the bases — another curveball to punch out Chas McCormick. He released a mighty yawp as he headed to the dugout.

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“It was a big inning for us,” Eovaldi said. “I was hoping that was going to be the inning to get us back into the game and get us going, but tonight it just wasn’t our night.”

Nate Eovaldi gets high fives from teammates after being pulled in the fifth inning.
Nate Eovaldi gets high fives from teammates after being pulled in the fifth inning.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Eovaldi returned to the mound for the fifth, getting lifted after bouncing back from a leadoff single to strike out José Altuve. As well as he pitched, the disappearance of the Red Sox offense meant that his day concluded with a 1-0 deficit, en route to the eventual loss.

Eovaldi was charged with the defeat — his second of the ALCS (the other coming as a result of his ninth-inning work out of the bullpen in Game 4) — and he finished the series 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA. Still, those numbers were not representative of his performance, nor of the magnitude of his contributions while anchoring the Sox pitching staff in 2021.

He followed his 182⅓ regular-season innings with another 20⅓ in the playoffs, the combined 202⅔ innings representing the biggest workload of his career. In defeat, the 31-year-old expressed pride in his ability to adjust game-to-game, something enabled by a full year of health.

“That’s a big thank you to our training staff. They’ve been unbelievable for us this year,” he said. “Everything that I was able to accomplish, it’s thanks to them.”

Despite allowing a run in the first inning, Nate Eovaldi pitched well enough to keep the Red Sox in the game.
Despite allowing a run in the first inning, Nate Eovaldi pitched well enough to keep the Red Sox in the game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.