Rafael Devers hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series Thursday to lift the Red Sox past the Astros and into the World Series.
David Price pitched six innings for his first postseason victory.
The Red Sox won the series, 4-1. The Red Sox will face the winner of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Brewers when the World Series begins on Tuesday in Boston. Game 6 of the NLCS is Friday in Milwaukee.
Here’s an inning-by-inning review of the way the game unfolded.
Ninth inning: Red Sox 4, Astros 1
Bottom: Craig Kimbrel replaced Nathan Eovaldi on the mound. After Carlos Correa struck out swinging, Kimbrel walked Yuli Gurriel on four pitches. Marwin Gonzalez struck out looking, and Tony Kemp flied out to center to end the inning. The Red Sox punched their ticket to the World Series.
Top: Roberto Osuna retired the side in order.
Eighth inning: Red Sox 4, Astros 1
Bottom: George Springer’s two-out base hit into center field put a runner on first, but Jose Altuve flied out to end the inning.
Top: Mitch Moreland struck out swinging to open the inning. Ian Kinsler ripped a shot to left field and beat the tag at second for a double. He advanced to third after Roberto Osuna threw a ball in the dirt that bounced off catcher Brian McCann’s chest protector, but was left stranded.
Seventh inning: Red Sox 4, Astros 1
Bottom: Matt Barnes replaced David Price on the mound. With two outs, Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo shot to put the Astros on the board. Barnes then walked Tony Kemp to put a runner on first. Game 3 starter Nathan Eovaldi replaced Barnes on the mound, and Josh Reddick flied out to end the inning.
Matt Barnes replaced David Price on the mound for the Red Sox. After retiring the first two batters he faced, Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run to cut the Red Sox’ lead to 4-1.
Top: Roberto Osuna replaced Justin Verlander on the mound and retired the side.
Sixth inning: Red Sox 4, Astros 0
Bottom: Mookie Betts made a leaping grab at the wall for an out that was eerily similar to Game 4’s controversial fan interference. George Springer grounded out and Jose Altuve struck out swinging to end the inning.
Top: Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a double. Leftfielder Tony Kemp made a play on the ball at the wall, but did not catch it. Ian Kinsler hit a right-field single that advanced Moreland to third, and Rafael Devers drove both runners home with a three-run blast to center field.
Verlander retired the next three batters to end the inning.
Fifth inning: Red Sox 1, Astros 0
Bottom: David Price retired the side in order.
Huge out for Price on the 1-3 swinging bunt by Marisnick. Huge out to get through the fifth. Interesting that there was no one warming in the Red Sox bullpen even with Bregman in the on-deck circle readying for his 3rd PA.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Top: J.D. Martinez hit a two-out ground ball into center field to reach base for the third time, but was left stranded.
Fourth inning: Red Sox 1, Astros 0
Bottom: After Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa struck out, Yuli Gurriel ended a nine-pitch at-bat with a line drive off the left-field wall. Andrew Benintendi bobbled the ball, allowing Gurriel to easily make it to second. Marwin Gonzalez struck out to end the inning.
3 changeups, an elevated fastball to change the eye level, and a change in the dirt for a K. Price gave him nothing to hit with a runner in scoring position and still punched him out. He's through 4 innings in 73 pitches.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Top: Justin Verlander retired the side in order, including back-to-back strikeouts of Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez.
Third inning: Red Sox 1, Astros 0
Bottom: David Price retired the side in order. His pitch count: 47.
Top: After Andrew Benintendi struck out looking, J.D. Martinez launched a solo homer to left field to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Martinez demolished an elevated curveball and pulled it down the LF line for his HR since Game 1 of the ALDS. Minute Maid got so quiet during the flight of the ball that it echoed throughout the park when it hit off a metal sign above the Crawford boxes.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Second inning: Red Sox 0, Astros 0
Bottom: Yuli Gurriel opened the inning with a hard-hit single to center field, but Price retired the next three batters to end the inning. Price’s pitch count: 35.
Price isn't working up in the zone as much as he typically likes to righties, especially with the cutter, though of course the Astros are unusually good at handling elevated pitches.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Price is feeling the changeup - he's thrown more of them (12) than any other pitch. Astros have swung at 6: 4 foul balls and 2 swings/misses.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Top: After Ian Kinsler reached on an error and Christian Vazquez singled, Jackie Bradley Jr. walked to load the bases, but Mookie Betts struck out swinging to end the inning.
Bradley with 4 BBs, 3 XBH, and 3 Ks in the series. He's having excellent at-bats.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
First inning: Red Sox 0, Astros 0
Bottom: Red Sox starter David Price allowed a two-out single to Jose Altuve, but then struck out Carlos Correa looking to end the first.
Price has already established a willingness to throw all four pitches (2- and 4-seam, change, cutter) in two-strike counts. 2 of his first 3 cutters have been for called strikes - probably the best barometer of the effectiveness of the pitch.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
That said, Price is still throwing the cutter harder than the Red Sox consider ideal (90-91). The difference here vs the Yankees start is that he hasn't been pitching to just one location or narrowed pitch selection, so they're not jumping on it.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Top: Astros starter Justin Verlander got two quick outs, then walked J.D. Martinez before inducing a fielder’s choice groundout from Xander Bogaerts.
11 pitches, 8 fastballs for Verlander in a scoreless first. Price gets his shot at the bottom of the inning.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 19, 2018
Jeff Kent, who played two of his 17 seasons in the majors for the Astros, is throwing out the first pitch.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 18, 2018
Sox updates: Chris Sale threw from flat ground and is ready to start Game 6 if needed. ... Pearce is fine. Moreland is just ready to play after the hamstring strain ... “I haven’t gotten it yet,” newly 43 Alex Cora said when asked what was the best birthday gift he received. 🏆— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 18, 2018
Where we go from here
If the Red Sox win tonight, they are on to the World Series, which would start on Tuesday at Fenway Park. If the Sox lose, the ALCS is headed back to Fenway, where Game 6 would be Saturday. A Game 6 start time depends on the outcome of Friday’s NLCS Game 6. If the Brewers push the series to a Game 7, then a would-be Game 6 of Sox-Astros would be at 5:09 p.m. Saturday; if the Dodgers oust the Brewers in six, then Game 6 of the ALCS would be at 8:09 p.m. Saturday.
Lineups and notes
■ LHP David Price (0-1, 9.95 ERA this postseason) and RHP Justin Verlander (2-0, 3.18 ERA) are the starters.
|RED SOX (3-1)||ASTROS (1-3)|
|Betts RF||Bregman 3B|
|Benintendi LF||Springer RF|
|Martinez DH||Altuve DH|
|Bogaerts SS||Correa SS|
|Moreland 1B||Gurriel 1B|
|Kinsler 2B||Gonzalez 2B|
|Devers 3B||Kemp LF|
|Vázquez C||Maldonado C|
|Bradley Jr. CF||Marinsick CF|
■ Price, still searching for his first career postseason win, makes his third start of these playoffs. In Game 2 of this series, he went 4⅔ innings, gave up four runs on five hits, struck out four, and walked four.
Nick Cafardo wrote about what the Sox might get out of Price tonight and that he has a chance to win over the Red Sox fan base.
■ Verlander, making his third start of these playoffs, earned the Game 1 win over the Sox, going six innings, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out six, and walking four.
■ Couldn’t stay awake for all of last night’s win? Here are six can’t-miss Red Sox plays.
Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.