Red Sox

Red Sox bats go quiet, lose Game 5 9-1 and trail the Astros 3-2 in ALCS

Christian Vazquez and the Red Sox bats went quiet in Game 5. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

The Red Sox are a loss away from their season ending.

After going up 2-1 following Game 3 of the ALCS, the Red Sox now trail the series 3-2 following their 9-1 loss over the Astros in Game 5.

Yordan Alvarez got it done for the Astros at the plate. He hit a solo home run off Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the second, hitting the first pitch he saw into Green Monster.

Sale kept the Astros scoreless from that point on through the end of the fifth, with Alvarez recording the lone Astros’ hit during that stretch. Sale came back on for the sixth, and with runners at second and third with one out, Alvarez hit a two-RBI double to give Houston a 3-0 lead to end Sale’s day.


Like they did in the ninth inning of Game 4, the Astros didn’t stop scoring once they broke through. Yuli Gurriel hit an RBI double off Ryan Brasier to score Alvarez and Jose Siri’s single knocked in two runs to give the Astros a 6-0 lead by the end of the sixth.

On the other end, Framber Valdez dominated the Red Sox bats. He was perfect through four innings and when he allowed his first two baserunners in the fifth, he quickly got out of the jam. He induced a groundball against Hunter Renfroe for a double play and got Alex Verdugo to ground out to end the inning.

Valdez didn’t allow a run until the seventh. After Houston added a run in the earlier frame, Rafael Devers gave Boston its first run when connected with Valdez’s slider for a solo shot to right to make it 7-1.

The Astros added two more runs in the ninth to make it 9-1.

Valdez lasted eight innings, giving up one run on just three hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.

Chris Sale was strong for most of his start, allowing just one run through five innings. But his three-run sixth inning gave him a final line of four runs (two earned) on three hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts.

Middle of the ninth (Astros lead 9-1)

The Astros loaded the bases again in the ninth and took advantage this time.


With Martin Perez now on, the Astros got their first two hitters on base in the inning with Michael Brantley hitting a single and Alex Bregman walking. Yordan Alvarez grounded out to move the runners into scoring position and an intentional walk of Carlos Correa loaded the bases.

Kyle Tucker grounded into a fielder’s choice and it looked like the Red Sox would get out of the inning scatheless. But Yuli Gurriel knocked in two runs with a single to center.

Jose Siri grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

End of the eighth (Astros lead 7-1)

The bottom of the Red Sox order wasn’t able to generate anything in the eighth.

Alex Verdugo grounded out and Christian Arroyo flew out to right to begin the inning.

Christian Vazquez made good contact on Framber Valdez’s curve, but the ball died on the warning track in left for a fly out.

Middle of the eighth (Astros lead 7-1)

The Astros were at the plate for nearly a half-hour of real time, but didn’t score any runs.

After getting Carlos Correa to ground out, Darwinzon Hernandez walked Kyle Tucker and gave up a single to Yuli Gurriel. Hirokazu Sawamura came in after that and struck out Jose Siri right away but Martin Maldonado.

Jose Altuve came close to hitting a grand slam, but his liner to left sailed foul. He ended up lining out to left to end the inning.

End of the seventh (Astros lead 7-1)

The Red Sox weren’t able to add on from Rafael Devers’s homer in the seventh. J.D. Martinez did draw a walk, but after going down 1-2 in the count, Hunter Renfroe grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.


Valdez remains sharp, allowing just three hits through seven innings. Even after the home run, no one was warming up in Houston’s bullpen.

Rafael Devers hits a home run for Red Sox’ first run of the game (Astros lead 7-1)

At the start of the seventh, Xander Bogaerts hit a high hopper to third, which Alex Bregman lept up to grab and throw him out at first.

Rafael Devers was able to finally put the Red Sox on the board. Framber Valdez left a sinker low in the zone, which Devers turned on and it roped along Pesky’s Pole for the solo shot.

Middle of the seventh (Astros lead 7-0)

The Astros added to their lead in the seventh. With Hansel Robles now pitching, Jose Altuve began the inning with a single to right. He advanced to second when Robles’s pickoff attempt got away from Kyle Schwarber.

That proved to be costly as Michael Brantley’s single to shallow single scored Altuve later in the at-bat. Robles did get Alex Bregman to ground into a double play, leaving the bases empty and two outs for Yordan Alvarez. The Red Sox turned to Darwinzon Hernandez out of the bullpen for the lefty-on-lefty matchup, and it worked as Hernandez struck out Alvarez.

End of the sixth (Astros lead 6-0)

Framber Valdez is still in control through six.

Christian Arroyo had nothing for Valdez’s curve, whiffing on it for strike three. Christian Vazquez did hit a double in the next at-bat, but Kiké Hernández flew out on the first pitch of the next at-bat. Kyle Schwarber hit a line out right at Yuli Gurriel to end the inning.

Dating back to the second inning of Game 4, the Red Sox haven’t scored in 14 straight innings now.

Middle of the sixth- Astros add to their lead (Astros lead 6-0)

The Red Sox look oh so close to getting out of the inning without further damage when Ryan Brasier came in.


Brasier struck out Correa for the second out of the inning. A soft grounder toward second by Kyle Tucker made it look like the inning would end. But when Xander Bogaerts finally got the ball, Tucker was just a step away from reaching safely.

Yuli Gurriel recorded the first hit not hit by Yordan Alvarez when his double to right scored Alvarez. With runners at second and third, Jose Siri hit a bloop single to shallow right to extend the lead to 6-0.

Martin Maldonado hit a hard liner to right, but Alex Verdugo was able to make the grab. The Red Sox trail 6-0 now though, with the momentum shifting to the Astros.

Chris Sale’s day ends (Astros lead 3-0)

Chris Sale came back out for the sixth inning, and it might be a decision Alex Cora regrets.

Jose Altuve drew a walk to start the inning. As Altuve dashed to try and steal second on the first pitch of the next at-bat, Michael Brantley hit a soft grounder to third. Rafael Devers’s cleanly fielded the ball, but with Altuve rounding second and heading toward third, relatively inexperienced first baseman Kyle Schwarber prepared to make the throw before fully securing the catch. Runners were safe at first and third.

Alex Bregman grounded out to Sale in the first pitch of his at-bat, putting runners at second and third for the one Astro who’s recorded a hit against Sale: Yordan Alvarez.

The slugger got to Sale again, hitting a double along the left field line to score both runners, making it 3-0.


Sale’s day ended there as Ryan Brasier came into the game.

End of the fifth (Astros lead 1-0)

The Red Sox finally got on-base against Framber Valdez in the fifth and even made a threat to score. However, they weren’t able to capitalize.

Rafael Devers hit a groundball single to right to get on board. J.D. Martinez was hit on the next pitch, giving the Red Sox runners on first and second with no outs.

But Hunter Refnroe helped Valdez, grounding into a 6-4-3 double play on a 2-0 pitch. Alex Verdugo grounded out to first on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

Simply put, the Red Sox haven’t made Valdez work too much so fart. He’s thrown just 54 pitches through five innings, with the Red Sox recording an out in three or less pitches in eight at-bats so far.

Middle of the fifth (Astros lead 1-0)

Chris Sale came back out for the fifth and after going down 3-0 against Yuli Gurriel, he retired the first batter of the inning on a ground out to third. Jose Siri ripped a line drive right at Kiké Hernández on the first pitch for the second out of the inning.

Martin Maldonado hit a pop out sky-high to right for out No. 3. With Maldonado going down, Sale’s now gone through the Astros’ lineup twice – which might be the point where the Red Sox call it a day for their starting pitcher.

Sale’s thrown 79 pitches through five, allowing one run on two hits, a walk, and seven strikeouts. Simply put, this is the best performance he’s had all season considering the stakes.


Adam Ottavino was warming up in the Red Sox bullpen during the fourth. It wouldn’t be a shock if he faced the righty-favored top of the Astros order for the sixth.

More on the starting pitchers

Through four innings, the story of Game 5 has been the dominance of the starting pitchers. Chris Sale’s allowed just two hits and a walk. He did face a little trouble in the fourth, but his strike out of Kyle Tucker ended the inning. The fastball Tucker whiffed at for strike three went 98.5 mph, which is Sale’s fastest pitch since 2018, via Alex Speier.

On the flip side, Framber Valdez is perfect through four. As a matter of fact, the Red Sox haven’t even hit the ball out of the infield. That’s how good Valdez has been.

End of the fourth (Astros lead 1-0)

Framber Valdez remains in control and is perfect through four.

Kiké Hernández began the inning with a ground out to third, swinging on the third pitch after going ahead 2-0 in the count.

Kyle Schwarber had a 2-1 count when he hit a soft grounder to first for the second out of the inning.

Valdez found the strike zone early against Xander Bogaerts, going up 0-2 in the count before Bogaerts grounded out to second on the third pitch of the at-bat.

Middle of the fourth (Astros lead 1-0)

Chris Sale started to show signs of trouble in the fourth, but emphatically responded once he got in a hole.

Sale got Michael Brantley to whiff at an inside slider for strike three for the inning’s first out.

An eight-pitch battle with Alex Bregman led to Sale’s first walk on the night. Yordan Alvarez hit another fastball on the edge of the plate to left. This time, it didn’t clear the Moster but it bounced off of it for a loud single to put runners at third.

But Sale bounced back right away. He struck out Carlos Correa on three pitches, throwing a high fastball by his swinging bat for strike three. He got Kyle Tucker out in the same fashion, throwing a 98 mph fastball for strike three.

When Tucker whiffed, Sale looked as fired up as he’s ever been, yelling into his glove as the Sox went into the dugout.

End of the third (Astros lead 1-0)

Framber Valdez is perfect through three innings.

Alex Verdugo was just inches away from hitting a leadoff double in the third, but his liner down the third-base line broke foul at the last moment. Verdugo eventually ground out to first a few pitches later.

Christian Arroyo recorded a quick out, grounding out on a curve over the plate to short for the inning’s second out.

Christian Vázquez went down by way of the K, whiffing at a low curve to end the inning.

Valdez has thrown just 36 pitches so far, with 27 going for strikes. Like Sale, he’s struck out four hitters. The only difference between the two so far is that Sale allowed one hit – a big one that went for a home run.

Middle of the third (Astros lead 1-0)

Chris Sale quickly got two quick strikes on Jose Siri in the opening at-bat of the third before getting Siri to pop out to himself. Sale really wanted to make the play on the pop fly, waving off a running Kyle Schwarber to make the grab.

Sale got behind 2-0 against Martin Maldonado, but he got the struggling hitter to easily ground out to third for the inning’s second out.

Now making his second trip through the Astros’ lineup, Sale got in a nine-pitch battle against Jose Altuve. Sale came out on top, getting Altuve to whiff at an inside slider after three straight foul balls.

Through three innings, Sale’s looked more like his usual self than he has in recent weeks. The Yordan Alvarez homer is the only hit or walk he’s allowed through 10 batters. He’s struck out four and has thrown 46 pitches so far, putting him in a good spot to pitch at least a couple more innings if the Astros don’t get to him.

End of the second (Astros lead 1-0)

Rafael Devers grounded out on the first pitch of the inning. While the play led to an easy ground out at first, Devers shattered his bat on his swing, leading to an impressive play by a fan to grab the flying bat in the stands.

J.D. Martinez and Hunter Renfroe both struck out as the Red Sox went down 1-2-3 in the second. Framber Valdez got Martinez to strike out swinging at a curveball low-and-inside and got Verdugo looking on a curve in the upper half of the zone.

Middle of the second (Astros lead 1-0)

Chris Sale had a strong response after giving up the leadoff homer to Yordan Alvarez.

After throwing a slider for the first two strikes against Carlos Correa, he got the shortstop to strike out looking at a fastball. He got Kyle Tucker to swing-and-miss at two high fastballs before Tucker flew out to left. To end the inning, Sale got Yuli Gurriel to strike out looking at a fastball on the inside edge of the zone with a 3-2 count.

Through two innings, Sale’s thrown 28 pitches with 19 going for strikes. Alvarez’s homer is the only hit or walk Sale’s allowed so far.

Yordan Alvarez gives the Astros a 1-0 lead in the second

After a perfect first inning, it only took one pitch in the second for Chris Sale to make a mistake.

Sale threw a 93 mph fastball to Yordan Alvarez, a lefty, on the outer edge of the plate. Alvarez took it the opposite way, driving it 390 feet to left and over the Green Monster for a home run.

End of the first

Kiké Hernández worked Framber Valdez in the opening at-bat, loading the count. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat though, Valdez got Hernández looking, landing a sinker on the inside edge of the zone.

Kyle Schwarber was jameed and broke his bat, leading to a light ground out to second. Xander Bogaerts went down easy with a ground out to short to retire the side.

For just the second time this series, we’ve a scoreless first inning.

Middle of the first

Jose Altuve likes swinging on the first pitch. Unlike his eighth-inning at-bat last night though, his drive to left recorded a quick out for the Red Sox. Altuve made good contact on Sale’s 89 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate for the game’s first out.

Sale got aggressive against Michael Brantley, throwing three fastballs in the five-pitch at-bat. He got Brantley by way of the K, throwing a 96 mph fastball on the outer corner that Brantley whiffed at.

For the inning’s final out, Alex Bregman hit a grounder that went deep to short. Xander Bogaerts looked like he might have a tough play, but the throw to first clearly beat Bregman for the out.

5 p.m.

First pitch is just minutes away and one last thought comes to mind: What happens if Chris Sale struggles again?

The Red Sox turned to Adam Ottavino in Game 1 when Sale was pulled during the third inning. Obviously, where the Astros are at in the order and how much traffic they’re generating with the bats will go into the decision. But the Red Sox will have Tanner Houck at their disposal. He pitched five innings following Sale’s brief Game 2 start in the ALDS and only got an inning in Game 1, his last performance.

4:40 p.m.

Game 5 won’t have the most October baseball feel. With the earlier start, it’ll be 68 degrees and sunny at first pitch. As the game goes on and the sun goes down, the temperature is expected to drop to the low 60s and high 50s as the sky will be dry and mild.

4:25 p.m.

Game 5 is less than an hour away, and with Game 4 ending roughly 16 hours ago, let’s rewind back to Tuesday night.

Here’s everything we wrote on the Red Sox’ Game 4 loss:

Chad Finn: Thoughts on Red Sox-Astros ahead of Game 5

Umpire Laz Diaz got it wrong, but Alex Cora made his own bad call in Game 4

Alex Cora explained why he pitched Nathan Eovaldi in the 9th inning of Game 4

Umpire who appeared to miss Nathan Eovaldi’s called third strike missed 23 ball-strike calls

5 takeaways as a disastrous 9th inning dooms Red Sox in Game 4 vs. Astros

Starting pitchers

The pitching matchup for Game 5 is the same as Game 1, in which the Astros won 5-4.

Chris Sale takes the bump for the Red Sox while the Astros will have Framber Valdez starting in hopes to go up 3-2 in the series.

After looking solid and showing signs of his old self in his first eight starts back from Tommy John surgery, Sale has failed to pitch three full innings in each of his last three starts. The lowest point in the recent skid came in Game 2 of the ALDS, in which he pitched just one inning and gave up five runs to the Rays, including a grand slam to Jordan Luplow.

Sale didn’t get off on the right foot in his Game 1 start, either. He walked the first hitter he faced, gave up a single, and threw a wild pitch that allowed Yordan Alvarez to score Jose Altuve on a sacrifice fly.

In the second inning, Sale loaded the bases up by giving up two singles and a hit batsman with just one out. But he got out of the inning without allowing a run, striking out the next hitter and getting the following hitter to line out.

Sale gave up another pair of singles in the third before striking out Kyle Tucker for the second out of the inning. Alex Cora gave Sale the hook there, ending his day with just 2 2/3 innings pitched. Sale gave up one run on five hits, one walk, and two strikeouts on 61 pitches.

Valdez lasted just as long as Sale in his Game 1 start. The Red Sox loaded the bases in the first inning against Valdez in that game, but didn’t score and were scoreless through two innings.

Valdez struggled though in his second time through the Red Sox lineup. Kiké Hernández hit a leadoff homer in the third, and a walk from Xander Bogaerts and a walk by Rafael Devers allowed the Red Sox to score another run on an Astros error. Hunter Renfroe’s RBI double gave the Red Sox their third run of the day and Valdez’s night ended after he struck out Alex Verdugo in the ensuing at-bat.

Despite just pitching 2 2/3 innings, Valdez’s start is the longest by any Astros starting pitcher so far in this series. Houston’s Games 2, 3, and 4 starters were all removed in the second inning of their respective starts.

Starting lineups

The Red Sox’ starting lineup for Game 5 will be the same as it was for Game 1. That means Kiké Hernández will hit leadoff and Kyle Schwarber will hit second, a change from the previous three games as a lefty’s on the mound to start Game 5 for Houston.

Here’s the Red Sox’ full starting lineup:

1. Kiké Hernández CF

2. Kyle Schwarber 1B

3. Xander Bogaerts SS

4. Rafael Devers 3B

5. J.D. Martinez DH

6. Hunter Renfroe RF

7. Alex Verdugo LF

8. Christian Arroyo 2B

9. Christian Vázquez C

For Houston, their lineup mostly remains the same from Game 4 for Game 5. The only change is that Jose Siri will make his second start of the series, playing center field instead of Chas McCormick.

Here’s the Astros’ full starting lineup:

1. Jose Altuve 2B

2. Michael Brantley LF

3. Alex Bregman 3B

4. Yordan Alvarez DH

5. Carlos Correa SS

6. Kyle Tucker RF

7. Yuli Gurriel 1B

8. Jose Siri CF

9. Martin Maldonado C


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