Houston 9, Boston 1
When: 5:08 PM ET, Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Dan Iassogna, 1B -
Alan Porter, 2B -
David Rackley, 3B -
Rob Drake, LF -
Bill Miller, RF -
BOSTON -- Framber Valdez gave the Houston Astros the kind of start they desperately needed in their biggest moment of the season Wednesday night.
Valdez kept the Boston bats at bay with eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball as Houston coasted to a 9-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox to take a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series.
Prior to Valdez's outing, the Astros' starters had allowed 16 runs (14 earned) in a combined 6 2/3 innings over the first four games of the series. None of the four -- including Valdez himself in Game 1 -- had made it past the third inning.
In his Game 1 start, Valdez yielded three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings during an eventual 5-4 Houston win.
"I felt humiliated after that first outing and I set my mind on not letting that happen again," Valdez said through an interpreter. "I did everything I could to work as hard as I possibly could to come back and have success in this outing, because I didn't want to feel something like that again."
At age 27, Valdez (1-0) became the youngest starter to log eight or more innings while allowing one run or none in a postseason starts since Madison Bumgarner did so for the San Francisco Giants in 2016.
Yordan Alvarez (3-for-5) provided the offensive punch for the Astros, hitting a second-inning solo homer before adding a two-run double in Houston's five-run sixth. Yuli Gurriel also had three RBIs while Jose Siri had a two-run single and Michael Brantley drove in a run.
Houston will look to close out the best-of-seven series when it shifts back to Texas for Game 6 on Friday night. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Saturday.
Game 5 winners in best-of-seven postseason series that were tied after four games have gone on to win the series 70 percent (44 of 63) of the time.
"We lost the (Game 3), but we were able to get the next two," Alvarez said through an interpreter regarding the Astros' three-game run in Boston. "Now we've got to go home and just look for one game, and we hope to be able to do it to win it all."
Rafael Devers had a solo homer and a single for the Red Sox. It was the eighth career postseason home run for the 24-year-old third baseman, who tied Mickey Mantle, Albert Pujols and Houston's Carlos Correa for the most ever before turning 25.
After totaling five hits in a 9-2 loss in Game 4 Tuesday, the Red Sox finished with just three on Wednesday. Boston racked up 22 hits and outscored Houston 21-8 while winning Games 2 and 3.
"We got to win two games to go to the World Series. That's the bottom line," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "It's not the first time we've been in this situation that is a must-win. We did it in (game) 162, and we did it in the wild-card game."
Sale fell to 1-3 in his postseason career after allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
"I was good for five (innings), and then I sucked for one," Sale said. "(We're) not in a good spot going back to Houston. There's no denying that, but this team has won two games in the playoffs back-to-back before, and we think we can do it again."
Alvarez's sixth-inning double made it 3-0 before Gurriel added an RBI double and Siri smacked a two-run single.
Brantley's RBI single in the seventh made it 7-0 before Devers homered later in the inning. Gurriel's two-out, two-run single in the ninth capped the scoring.
--Gethin Coolbaugh, Field Level Media
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