• Brian L. Barefield

Astros Late Game Offensive Outburst Secures Victory Over Red Sox In ALCS Game 4

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Houston Astros fans do not believe that any game the team is trailing in is truly over until the Astros final out of their at-bat. Many times, fans have seen the team rise from the ashes to steal a victory from a team that believed they had the game won.

During a tight American League West divisional race in early September, the Astros were down to the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. A game-tying two-run home run by third baseman Alex Bregman and an extra-inning RBI double by shortstop Carlos Correa gave Houston a 5-4 victory.

That same month, amidst that same divisional race and an opportunity to secure home-field advantage throughout the American League postseason, the Astros faced the Tampa Bay Rays, who possessed that top spot.

Trailing by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning, centerfielder Chas McCormick and catcher Jason Castro (remember that name) drew two bases-loaded walks, and Houston won the game by a score of 4-3.

The moral of the story is. Never count the Astros out of any game.

The Boston Red Sox learned that the hard way on Tuesday night in Game 4 in the best-of-seven ALCS. Houston used a seven-run ninth inning to blow open a tie game and tie the series at two games with a 9-2 victory at Fenway Park.

“That was a huge win,” said an ecstatic Astros manager Dusty Baker. “To tie that up (series), to guarantee us to go back home and have some more games at home, so we got another big game tomorrow.”

Houston came out aggressive in the first inning, as they got a solo home run from Alex Bregman to take a 1-0 lead. That was a great sign of what could become from the Astros. They had been outscored 16-1 in the first two innings of Games 1-3 of the ALCS.

Boston would regain the lead after Houston starting pitcher Zack Greinke walked Rafael Devers with two outs in the bottom of the first, and Xander Bogaerts hit a home run to left field on a 1-0 pitch.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

It looked as if it could be one of those nights for the Astros as the bats went silent after the first inning due to some very efficient pitching from Red Sox starter Nick Pvetta. To the surprise of Boston and their fans, it was one of those same nights as their red-hot bats went silent as Houston's bullpen led by Christian Javier, who pitched three scoreless innings to keep the Astros in striking distance.

“That's one of the biggest performances I've seen in a situation of a postseason game this postseason,” Game 4 winner Kendall Graveman said about Javier. “For him to go out there and give us a little length was something that we needed, and I thought he threw the ball exceptionally well.”

Still trailing by one run in the top of the eighth inning, Jose Altuve would hit a first-pitch solo home run to tie the game at two and give the Astros some hope to stay alive in the series.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

It was his 21st postseason home run and the 12th of his career that either tied the game or gave his team the lead.

“He just hit a first-pitch fastball out,” said Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock. “I was trying to get ahead and throw strikes, so tip my cap to him.”

Dusty Baker has preached all season long that hitting is contagious. That message must have circulated throughout the dugout, after Altuve’s home run in the eighth inning.

Carlos Correa hit a double to start the ninth inning, but it looked like he would be stranded there when Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Diaz struck out. That would put the game in the hands of Jason Castro (I told you to remember that name).

With two outs and down to his last strike, Castro hit a single into right field to drive in Correa from second base to break a tie ball game. That jump-started the Astros bats as they would get a franchise postseason record seven runs in the ninth inning to take a 9-2 lead.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Houston has scored 36 two-out runs in 8 games this postseason, which is the most in that span per MLB.

Even with a comfortable lead, Dusty Baker did not want to take any chances of a Red Sox rally. He brought in 2021 All-Star reliever Ryan Pressly who allowed two runners on base with two outs but struck out Xander Bogaerts to end the game.

The Astros will play Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday before a rest day on Thursday to prepare for Game 6 at Minute Maid Park on Friday.

5 views0 comments