Astros pile on late, rout Red Sox in ALCS Game 1
BOSTON — Justin Verlander pitched six gritty innings, and Carlos Correa delivered the tiebreaking single in the sixth that sent the Houston Astros to a 7-2 victory over the host Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, Oct. 13, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Boston, when left-hander David Price pitches for the Red Sox opposite Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Verlander (1-0) gave up two runs in the fifth, needing 33 pitches to get through the frame. He allowed two singles, one to Mookie Betts in the first and one to Steve Pearce in the fifth, but did enough to win his 13th postseason game.
In his 23rd postseason start, Verlander struck out six and matched a postseason career high with four walks.
George Springer extended his postseason hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run single off Chris Sale in the second, and Correa delivered a single off Joe Kelly (0-1) that made it 3-2 after Verlander's laborious inning.
Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel added insurance in the ninth with home runs off Brandon Workman. Reddick opened the inning with a solo drive to center field, and Gurriel hit a three-run homer inside the Pesky Pole down the right field line with one out.
Correa's clutch hit to left field occurred three batters after third baseman Eduardo Nunez's fielding error on a potential double-play grounder by Gurriel.
Alex Bregman scored on Correa's hit after starting the inning by getting hit by Kelly's 100 mph fastball. He briefly stared at Kelly before taking first and appeared to do so again after scoring.
Before Correa's hit, Verlander labored through the fifth but did not allow the Red Sox to go ahead.
Verlander issued his first bases-loaded walk since Aug. 3, 2015, when he walked Mitch Moreland to make it 2-1. After Betts hit into a force play at the plate, the Red Sox tied the game on a wild pitch on a check-swing by Andrew Benintendi, but Verlander ended the at-bat with a called strike three on the left fielder.
Benintendi dropped his bat and vocalized his disagreement with plate umpire James Hoye's call. In between innings, Boston manager Alex Cora was ejected by Hoye for arguing.
In the ALCS for the first time since 2013, the Red Sox got four innings from Sale, who struggled early and allowed two runs on one hit while working around four walks. Overall, Boston allowed 10 walks, setting a team record for a nine-inning postseason game, and also hit three batters.
Sale ran into trouble with two outs in the second, and the Astros capitalized. The left-hander hit Martin Maldonado with a 96 mph fastball around a pair of walks and was one strike away from getting out of it, but Springer laced a full-count fastball under Nunez's glove and into left field for a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Pressly worked around a throwing error by Correa in a scoreless seventh, Lance McCullers Jr. pitched a perfect eighth and Collin McHugh finished up.