Red Sox defeat Astros 8-6 in back and forth ALCS Game 4

Boston took a 3-1 series lead with a dramatic win.

Jackie Bradley Jr. home run Game 4.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a 6th inning two-run home run in Game 4 of the ALCS. –Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Red Sox the lead for good Wednesday, and they went on to an 8-6 victory in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

The Red Sox took a 3-1 lead in the series. Game 5 is Thursday at 8:09 p.m. (ET)

The Astros loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth and brought their best hitter, Alex Bregman, to the plate. But his sinking liner to left field was caught by a diving Andrew Benintendi to end the game.

Here’s an inning-by-inning recap:

9th inning: Red Sox 8, Astros 6

Bottom of the 9th: With Craig Kimbrel back on the mound for the 9th inning, second baseman Ian Kinsler recorded the first out with a basket catch in foul territory. Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa drew back-to-back walks before Brian McCann flew out to right (allowing Reddick to advance to third).

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With two outs, Tony Kemp drew a walk to load the bases. And on the first pitch from Kimbrel, Alex Bregman’s line drive to left field was caught by a diving Andrew Benintendi to end the game.

Top of the 9th: Tony Sipp was called in to pitch for Houston. He struck out Rafael Devers for the inning’s first out, but surrendered a walk to Steve Pearce and a base hit to Brock Holt. This led to Collin McHugh being called from the bullpen to face Sandy Leon with two on and one out.

After Leon flew out to center (Pearce advanced to third on the play), Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. McHugh escaped, however, when Mookie Betts’ line drive was caught spectacularly by a diving Josh Reddick in right field to end the threat.

8th inning: Red Sox 8, Astros 6

Bottom of the 8th: With Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel in the game, Tony Kemp tried to stretch his base hit into a double, but Mookie Betts’ throw to Xander Bogaerts from right field was accurate and in time to catch Kemp for the inning’s first out. After Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch, George Springer doubled into right field to put two runners in scoring position.

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Jose Altuve grounded out, but Bregman scored on the play to make it 8-6. Still, Kimbrel rallied, recording the final out of the inning on a strikeout of Marwin Gonzalez.

Top of the 8th: With Lance McCullers Jr. back on the mound for Hoston, Mookie Betts singled to left with one out. And after Andrew Benintendi flew out to left, Betts advanced to second on a wild pitch. J.D. Martinez’s base hit up the middle brought Betts home for Boston’s eighth run of the night. McCullers retired the side by getting Xander Bogaerts to ground out to short.

7th inning: Red Sox 7, Astros 5

Bottom of the 7th: Marwin Gonzalez hit a leadoff single into shallow centerfield. With one out, Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce dove into the Astros’ dugout attempting to catch Josh Reddick’s pop up (Pearce emerged alright, but couldn’t make the play). Reddick flew out to right on the next pitch.

Carlos Correa hit a two-out double down the right field line, advancing Gonzalez to third. With that, Red Sox manager Alex Cora sent for Matt Barnes from the bullpen. Facing pinch hitter Tyler White, Barnes retired the side on a strikeout.

Top of the 7th: Ryan Pressly entered to pitch for Houston. And with one out, J.D. Martinez knocked a base hit back up the middle. After a Xander Bogaerts walk, Carlos Correa had a chance to turn an unassisted, inning-ending double play on Rafael Devers’ ground ball. However, he missed second base with his foot, meaning that runners advanced to second and third with two outs. Steve Pearce walked to load the bases, and Houston manager A.J. Hinch brought in Lance McCullers Jr. to face Brock Holt.

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After throwing a first pitch strike, McCullers missed with four pitches to walk Holt and bring in another Red Sox run. Cora decided to pinch hit with Mitch Moreland, but McCullers was able to get him to ground out to first base to end the threat.

6th inning: Red Sox 6, Astros 5

Bottom of the 6th: After Eduardo Rodriguez was brought in to face Tony Kemp, he was quickly pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after Kemp drew a leadoff walk. Ryan Brasier entered to pitch for Boston, getting both George Springer and Jose Altuve to each ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Top of the 6th: After getting two quick outs, Josh James gave up a near-home run to Christian Vazquez to right-center, with the ball bouncing off of George Springer’s glove. On the next pitch, Jackie Bradley Jr. hammered a two-run home run as the Red Sox pulled ahead, 6-5. Mookie Betts’ deep drive to left field was caught by a leaping Tony Kemp to retire the side.

5th inning: Red Sox 4, Astros 5

Bottom of the 5th: Joe Kelly entered to pitch for the Red Sox, inducing a Marwin Gonzalez groundout before Yuli Gurriel reached on a single up the middle. With two outs, Gurriel stole second despite a quality Christian Vazquez block on a pitch in the dirt. Carlos Correa made Gurriel’s steal count, hitting an RBI single past Xander Bogaerts. Martin Maldonado’s groundout to Bogaerts ended the threat.

Top of the 5th: With one out and Josh James still pitching for the Astros, Andrew Benintendi sent a 99 mph fastball into deep left for an opposite field double. The next batter, J.D. Martinez, was initially called safe on an infield single, but a review revealed the Boston designated hitter was out. Xander Bogaerts’ two-out single up the middle plated Benintendi to tie the game at four apiece before Rafael Devers struck out to retire the side.

4th inning: Red Sox 3, Astros 4

Bottom of the 4th: Rick Porcello stayed in the game for the Red Sox, but surrendered a solo home run to Tony Kemp with one out. And after walking George Springer with two outs, he committed a throwing error that allowed Springer to move to second. Still, Porcello was able to escape without any further damage, getting Jose Altuve to pop out.

Top of the 4th: Astros reliever Josh James continued his dominance early in the inning, getting two quick outs, including a strikeout of Christian Vazquez on a powerful slider. Yet after he appeared to end the inning on a strikeout of Jackie Bradley Jr., the pitch was called a foul-tip and the at-bat was extended. James then walked Bradley, but Martin Maldonado threw out the Red Sox centerfielder as he tried to steal second.

3rd inning: Red Sox 3, Astros 3

Bottom of the 3rd: George Springer hit the first pitch offered by Rick Porcello out for an opposite field home run. And Jose Altuve nearly made it back-to-back home runs, hitting a breaking ball off the left field wall for a double. Marwin Gonzalez flew out to right for the first out of the inning. Porcello continued to work, and got Yuli Gurriel to pop out to Christian Vazquez on a sweeping breaking ball.

But with two outs, Josh Reddick’s base hit to left field tied the game, as Altuve came around from second base to score. Porcello then ended the inning by getting Carlos Correa to strike out on a looping curveball.

Top of the 3rd: Andrew Benintendi missed a centerfield home run by inches, settling instead of a double off the wall. After falling behind in the count, Charlie Morton recovered to strike out J.D. Martinez. Another wild pitch from Morton allowed Benintendi to advance to third.

A double down the third base line from Bogaerts scored Benintendi, and ended the night for Morton. Josh James entered to pitch for Houston, getting Rafael Devers to strike out on a series of pitches that all exceeded 100 mph. Steve Pearce then grounded out to end the threat, with Astros third baseman Alex Bregman making another fantastic diving stop and throw.

2nd inning: Red Sox 2, Astros 1

Bottom of the 2nd: Josh Reddick opened the inning by doubling to left field off of Rick Porcello. Carlos Correa’s base hit on a breaking ball drove Reddick home to put Houston on the board. Martin Maldonado’s attempted bunt held in the air long enough for Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez to make a sliding catch. Porcello then struck out Tony Kemp on a high fastball for the second out, and Alex Bregman’s ground out to second ended the inning.

Top of the 2nd: On the first pitch of the inning, Brock Holt grounded out to second. On the 2-1 pitch, Christian Vazquez popped out to second base. Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a two-out walk, but Mookie Betts skied out to centerfield to retire the side.

1st inning: Red Sox 2, Astros 0

Bottom of the 1st: Alex Bregman led off for the Astros against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, grounding out to Xander Bogaerts. On the first pitch he saw, Houston’s George Springer drilled a single into right-center.

Jose Altuve hit a deep drive to right field, but Mookie Betts extended his glove into the stands, tipping the ball back into play from what would have been a two-run home run. Yet his glove was hit by fans, preventing him from making the catch, so umpire Joe West called Altuve out due to fan interference:

After Altuve was called out (and Springer was moved back to first), Marwin Gonzalez was hit by a pitch, moving Springer to second. Yuli Gurriel’s fly out ended the inning.

Top of the 1st: Astros starter Charlie Morton hit Mookie Betts with his second pitch to open the game. Andrew Benintendi’s slow grounder forced Astros’ second baseman Marwin Gonzalez to make a quality play, fielding and throwing to get the first out (Betts advanced to second). J.D. Martinez took Morton to a full count before drawing a walk.

A two-strike wild pitch to Xander Bogaerts allowed Betts and Martinez to advance a base, but Morton immediately came back with a curveball to strike out the Red Sox shortstop. A base hit from Rafael Devers with two strikes into shallow left field scored both Betts and Martinez. Steve Pearce then grounded out, ending the threat.

 

Sights and sounds

What Alex Cora had to say:

From a past October:

Pregame news

Dave Dombrowski sounds off:

MLB clears Astros: Major League Baseball said Wednesday the Houston Astros did not violate any rules by having a person monitor the Red Sox dugout from the nearby photo pit during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on Saturday.

MLB said it was contacted by “a number of Clubs’’ to express concerns about sign stealing and how video equipment was being used, and that it has reminded all playoff teams of the rules and established new practices regarding the use of video during games. It also said it considers the matter, which surfaced during Game 3 on Tuesday night, to be closed.

Astros general manager and president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow said his team was “playing defense’’ and trying to ensure compliance by the Red Sox by placing someone near the Red Sox dugout.

Read the full story here.

– Rachel G. Bowers

Lineups

RED SOX (2-1)

ASTROS (1-2)

Game time: 8:39 p.m.

TV/Radio: TBS / WEEI.

Related: Game 4 pregame notes

Pregame reading

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