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Just like they did to win Game 2, an early barrage of runs won the Red Sox Game 3. And just like they did in Game 2, the Red Sox hit a grand slam in Game 3.
Astros starter Jose Urquidy retired the first four Red Sox hitters he faced, but his day went wayward when an 11-pitch at-bat against Alex Verdugo resulted in a walk. J.D. Martinez hit a double off the Green Monster in the next at-bat to put runners in scoring position. Hunter Renfroe walked to load the bases.
The Red Sox got on the board with Christian Vázquez’s single to score Verdugo. The inning looked like it was going to end when Christian Arroyo hit a grounder right at Jose Altuve, but the second baseman couldn’t field the ball cleanly on the hop, and everyone was safe – making it 2-0 Red Sox.
That was when the Red Sox’ power struck again. Kyle Schwarber went ahead in the count 3-0 and got the green light to swing. Schwarber crushed the fourth pitch – a 93 mph fastball over the heart of the plate – 430 feet to right and into the bleachers to make it 6-0 Red Sox.
Schwarber’s second-inning grand slam in Game 3 came after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit a grand slam in the first two innings of Game 2. The three grand slams hit by the Red Sox so far this series are the most any team has ever hit in a playoff series.
Boston wasn’t done hitting home runs there. Following a Vázquez RBI single, Arroyo hit a two-run home run to make it 9-0 Red Sox.
On the mound, Eduardo Rodriguez was in control for most of his start. He retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced, striking out five Astros hitters in that stretch.
Rodriguez faced trouble in the fourth. Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez each singled, putting runners at the corners with one out. It looked like Rodriguez was going to get out of the inning clean after getting Carlos Correa to pop out and got ahead 0-2 in the count against Kyle Tucker. However, on the third pitch, Tucker crushed Rodriguez’s inside slider 413 feet to right for a three-run home run, making it 9-3.
Yuli Gurriel singled in the next at-bat, but Rodriguez got back into a groove. He retired the next seven Astros hitters he faced, lasting him through the end of the sixth inning.
Unlike Game 2, the Red Sox kept scoring runs late in the game. J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Rafael Devers hit a solo homer in the eighth to make it 12-3.
Hansel Robles, Martin Perez, and Hirokazu Sawamura each pitched a scoreless inning in relief, securing the Game 3 win for the Red Sox to give them a 2-1 series lead.
Just like Hansel Robles in the inning prior, Martin Perez bounced back after giving up a leadoff walk. The lefty got Jose Altuve to ground into a double play and Chas McCormick – pinch-hitting for Michael Brantley – flew out to left.
Ryne Stanek retired three of the four Red Sox hitters he faced in the eighth, but the one he didn’t retire was a big one. Rafael Devers added another run when he hit a solo shot onto the Green Monter to make it 12-3.
Phil Maton came back out for the eighth and was able to have a clean inning. Christian Vazquez flew out to right, Christian Arroyo grounded out to short, and Bobby Dalbec – pinch-hitting for Kyle Schwarber – struck out to end the inning.
Eduardo Rodriguez’s day came to an end as Hansel Robles came on in relief. He walked Kyle Tucker in four pitches, giving some concern, but quickly rebounded.
But Yuli Gurriel grounded into a double play, and Jose Siri popped out to end the inning.
The Red Sox moved Alex Verdugo to center and Danny Santana entered the game to play left at the beginning of inning, ending Kiké Hernández’s day.
Brooks Raley came back on for the sixth inning for the Astros. He walked Rafael Devers to start the inning, but got Xander Bogaets to strike out on three pitches, getting him to whiff at a cutter high-and-inside.
Alex Verdugo popped out to shallow center with Jose Siri making a slide to make the grab. Siri nearly threw Devers out at first for the double play to end the inning, but Devers beat him by a step.
After Verdugo popped out, righty Phil Maton came on for Raley to face J.D. Martinez, which didn’t give the Astros the result they hoped for.
Maton’s second pitch, a slider on the inside part of the zone, was belted 395 feet by Martinez and onto the Green Monster.
Maton did get Hunter Renfroe to ground out to end the inning, but the Red Sox lead is now eight with just three innings left.
Eduardo Rodriguez came back out for the sixth and continued to pitch strong.
He got Alex Bregman to line out straight to center to begin the inning. Yordan Alvarez whiffed at his changeup that was low for the second out. Carlos Correa hit a grounder right at Christian Arroyo to end the inning.
As Rodriguez crossed paths with Correa at the end of the inning, Rodriguez pointed at his wrist, seemingly calling back to Correa’s reaction to his home run in Game 1. Alex Cora didn’t seem to be a fan of it, yelling “No! No!” as Rodriguez entered the dugout.
Lefty Brooks Raley gave the Astros another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. Christian Arroyo grounded out to third on one pitch to begin the inning. Kyle Schwarber got in a seven-pitch battle before flying out to left. Kiké Hernández got in another long battle, forcing eight pitches in the at-bat, but popped out to first to end the inning.
After a three-run fourth, Eduardo Rodriguez came back for the fifth and had a perfect inning. He struck out Martin Maldonado again to start. Jose Altuve flew out to right and Michael Brantley fouled out to end the inning. With the clean inning, it makes you wonder if Rodriguez will come back out for the sixth.
Lefty Blake Taylor came on in relief at the start of the inning for the Astros and was able to keep the score 9-3. Xander Bogaerts hit a hard line out to center to start the inning. Alex Verdugo singled and J.D. Martinez walked to get guys on, but Hunter Renfroe and Christian Vazquez were put out to end the inning.
Eduardo Rodriguez made his first mistakes of the night in the fourth.
Michael Brantley hit a single to start the inning. After Alex Bregman popped out, Yordan Alvarez singled off the Monster to put runners at the corners. Carlos Correa popped out and Rodriguez got ahead 0-2 against Kyle Tucker.
However, Tucker took advantage of an inside slider, blasting it into the right-field bleachers to make it 9-3.
Yuli Gurriel singled in the next at-bat, but Rodriguez put Jose Siri away to end the inning after his 10-pitch at-bat ended in a ground out to third.
The top of the order wasn’t able to extend the third inning for the Red Sox following Arroyo’s home run. Schwarber grounded out to first and after Hernández hit a single to left, Devers hit a loud fly out to right to end the inning.
The Red Sox extended their lead in the third with Garcia still pitching in relief.
J.D. Martinez struck out to start the inning, but Hunter Renfroe drew another walk. He advanced to third when he stole second and Maldonado’s threw ended up in center, causing him to move an extra base.
Christian Vázquez’s bloop single to left scored Renfroe. Christian Arroyo got the Red Sox their second longball of the night when he hit Diaz’s slider over the Monster.
Eduardo Rodriguez allowed his first hitter to get on base in the third, but he shut down the Astros after that.
Yuli Gurriel hit a single to center to start the inning. Jose Siri’s line drive to center didn’t drop quick enough as Hernández made the grab. Martin Maldonado whiffed at Rodriguez’s high fastball for strike three, and Altuve grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The Red Sox got a couple runners on board after Kyle Schwarber’s grand slam, but weren’t able to add to their lead.
Hernández and Bogaerts each singled, causing Dusty Baker to pull Jose Urquidy for Yimi Garcia. Verdugo, who started the streak of runners getting on base in the inning, flew out to center to end the second.
The Red Sox did it again.
Xander Bogaerts went down in three pitches to begin the inning, looking at Jose Urquidy’s slider to strike out.
Alex Verdugo changed the tide of the inning, though. After going down 0-2, Verdugo strung together an 11-pitch at-bat that led to a walk. J.D. Martinez bounced on Urquidy’s fastball over the zone for a double off the Monster, putting runners in scoring position.
Hunter Renfroe loaded the count before walking to load the bases up for the Sox with one out. Christian Vázquez took advantage, hitting a single to right to knock in Verdugo. Christian Arroyo looked like he was about to ground into an inning-ending double play, but Jose Altuve couldn’t field the ball cleanly. Everyone was safe and the Red Sox extended their lead 2-0.
Kyle Schwarber went ahead in the count 3-0. He got the green light and was rewarded for it. Schwarber crushed Urquidy’s fastball to right field and gave the Sox a 6-0 lead.
Eduardo Rodriguez is in control.
Rodriguez began the inning by getting Yordan Alvarez to strike out. The Astros DH looked at two fastballs before whiffing at slider low-and-away.
He threw two fastballs to start in the next at-bat, with Carlos Correa looking at one for a strike and fouling off the second. Rodriguez threw a cutter for the third pitch, which went for a ball, but he went back to it for the fourth pitch, which landed low in the zone and Correa didn’t swing – good for strike three.
Rodriguez went all-in on his fastball against Kyle Tucker. With the count at 2-2 through the first four pitches, Rodriguez threw a high fastball that went 94 mph. Tucker whiffed, and Rodriguez struck out the side.
The Red Sox’ bats couldn’t generate anything in the first.
Kyle Schwarber flew out to right on two pitches. Kiké Hernández got the count full, but popped out to first. Rafael Devers looked at one pitch before popping out to third.
For the first time this series, we are scoreless through one.
Eduardo Rodriguez looks more like the pitcher we saw in Game 4 of the ALDS as opposed to Game 1 through one inning.
He’s located the ball in the zone, throwing four strikes in five pitches against Astros leadoff hitter Jose Altuve, who flew out to center. He struck out Michael Brantley, who whiffed at a 95 mph fastball.
He threw two strikes and was fouled off in his first three pitches to Bregman. After throwing two balls, Bregman ground out to third to end the inning.
Following his Game 4 win over the Rays, Rodriguez said the most important thing is controlling his fastball. Seven of his eight fastballs went for strikes in the first inning.
For their first game back in Boston for the ALCS, the Red Sox called an old name from the bullpen to get things started.
Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon got the honor to throw the first pitch prior to Game 3. Like he did in his time in Boston, he jogged from the bullpen prior to throwing the first pitch. He’s been in town over the last few days providing analyst work for NESN’s pre-and post-game coverage.
Alex Cora will rock some creative cleats tonight. The Red Sox manager’s kicks will pay homage to a few other Boston sports icons. Read more here.
On the Fox pregame set, Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas predict the Astros to take Game 3. As expected, David Ortiz is rolling with the Sox.
Here’s an important stat going into Game 3. This year’s ALCS marks the 24th time in the last 52 years that the ALCS has been tied 1-1. In the previous 23 times, the winner of Game 3 in such a scenario has gone on to win the series 18 times (78 percent).
The Red Sox do have a history of winning the series after winning Game 3 with the series tied 1-1. They did that in 2018, when they defeated the Astros. They’ve also gone on to win the ALCS after losing Game 3 with the series tied 1-1 twice, doing so in 1986 and 2007.
The Red Sox will have Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for Game 3 while the Astros will counter with Jose Urquidy.
Rodriguez struggled in both of his starts against the Astros this season. In May, he allowed six runs on seven hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and one home run over 4 2/3 innings pitched in Houston. Less than two weeks later, Rodriguez gave up six runs on six hits, three walks, five strikeouts, and a home run over 4 2/3 innings pitched in Boston.
The Red Sox hope to get the performance they got from Rodriguez in the series-clinching win in the ALDS against the Rays. In Game 4, Rodriguez allowed two runs on three hits, no walks, and six strikeouts over five-plus innings. His strong Game 4 performance came after a short start in Game 1, in which he allowed two runs on two hits and two walks over 1 2/3 innings.
Urquidy made just one start against the Red Sox this season, starting opposite of Rodriguez on May 31 in Houston. He was sharp then, giving up just one run on three hits, a walk, and nine strikeouts over six innings.
Urquidy didn’t pitch at all during the Astros’ ALDS win over the White Sox, but he’s been a strong postseason pitcher over the last two years. Through eight outings (four starts), Urquidy’s pitched 25 2/3 innings and has a 2.81 ERA over that span. In 2019, he started Game 4 of the World Series, pitching five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits.
For Game 3, The Red Sox will have nearly the exact same starting lineup they had in Game 2. The only change is that Christian Vázquez will start at catcher instead of Kevin Plawecki. Kyle Schwarber will lead off and start at first and Kiké Hernández, who’s hitting .500 this postseason, will hit second and start at center.
Here’s the Red Sox’ full starting lineup:
1. Kyle Schwarber 1B
2. Kiké Hernández CF
3. Rafael Devers 3B
4. Xander Bogaerts SS
5. Alex Verdugo LF
6. J.D. Martinez DH
7. Hunter Renfroe RF
8. Christian Vázquez C
9. Christian Arroyo 2B
Like the Red Sox, the Astros’ starting lineup remains the same in eight of the nine spots. Jose Siri will start in center and hit eighth, replacing 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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