By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 8-2 Astros: Christian Vazquez got himself a one-out single, and then Jackie Bradley singled him home. But the seven-run rally came up just short. Sox lose.
Season on the line Sunday at Fenway. It can’t feel too good to be a member of the Boston Red Sox at this moment in time.
End 8th, 8-1 Astros: Craig Kimbrel: Still good.
He gets through the eighth despite a single from Carlos Beltran, and it’s on to the ninth, where this game will mercifully end for the Red Sox.
Middle 8th, 8-1 Astros: An injury scare for Mookie Betts was the last thing the Red Sox needed, but that’s what they got. Betts had been dealing with that thumb injury through September, and he grimaced after fouling off a pitch in this inning. He stayed in the game, but that’s going to be a concern on Sunday.
Anyway, no runs that inning for Boston, if you can believe it. Luke Gregerson allowed a leadoff single to Pedroia but then got a strikeout (Benintendi), fly out (Betts) and another strikeout (Ramirez).
End 7th, 8-1 Astros: The stage was set for Jose Altuve to really throw the knockout punch, as the hottest hitter in the series came to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. But he struck out, and the game moves on.
Austin Maddox allowed a pair of hits and a walk to get into that jam, but he also got himself out of it.
Middle 7th, 8-1 Astros: Christian Vazquez led off with a single. That would be it for the Boston offense.
End 6th, 8-1 Astros: The Red Sox’ season has (unofficially) come to an end.
Reed induced a Springer double play ball up the middle, but he himself reached for it and slowed it down, thus eliminating the possibility of a double play. With runners on the corners and one out, Reed got Bregman to fly out to shallow right. Betts made a catch on the run while charging toward the plate, so Gonzalez didn’t even try to score. But Betts fumbled the baseball when trying to throw it in, thus allowing Gonzalez to waltz home.
Then it went from bad to worse. After an intentional walk of Altuve, Reed served up a double to Correa, which scored two more runs. Gattis followed it up with a wall-ball double to score Correa.
And that will pretty much do it. Astros will have the chance to sweep on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Bottom 6th, 0 out, 4-1 Astros: Eduardo Rodriguez faced two batters. Gonzalez smoked a single. McCann got hit by a pitch. Rodriguez’s day was done.
Not what you’re looking for there.
On comes Addison Reed.
Middle 6th, 4-1 Astros: Moreland had himself a nice little battle, but Devenski eventually got him to pop up to second with a 3-2 changeup that was a hittable pitch. And so ends the “threat.”
Expect Eduardo Rodriguez to come in and try to keep this one at 4-1.
Top 6th, 2 outs, 4-1 Astros: At long last, the Red Sox got a man on base. And as a result, Keuchel’s day is done.
Keuchel had retired 13 straight Red Sox before Ramirez worked a professional walk with two outs. Hinch went to the mound, and after a brief chat with his starter, he made the call to the bullpen.
Devenski is in to pitch. Moreland is in to hit in place of Young.
End 5th, 4-1 Astros: Well, David Price probably feels as though he should have been starting this series. He’s been Boston’s best pitcher, just now getting Gattis, Reddick and Gurriel to go down 1-2-3 in the fifth.
Price’s line: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 R. The man has been good.
Middle 5th, 4-1 Astros: The rally just isn’t coming. Keuchel has really settled in.
He just got Bradley (ground out), Bogaerts (fly out) and Pedroia (ground out) in order and is at just 83 pitches thus far. The Red Sox offense looks hapless, as Keuchel has now retired 11 straight batters.
End 4th, 4-1 Astros: David Price is keeping the Sox alive in Game 2.
He did allow a Springer double and he did issue an intentional walk to Altuve, but he got the Sox out of the inning by getting Correa to pop out to Pedroia in shallow right to end this one. Price has been good so far. If the Boston bats can put together a rally here, we might even get a baseball game out of this.
Middle 4th, 4-1 Astros: If you were hoping Price’s escape from a jam might’ve given the Red Sox a surge, you would have been mistaken.
The Sox just went down 1-2-3 in what looked like Keuchel’s best inning of the afternoon.
End 3rd, 4-1 Astros: David Price got it done.
The lefty — tagged by some optimists as an Andrew Miller type of weapon for Boston — induced a sky-high popup to short from Gurriel and then a foul popup from Gonzalez, which Vazquez easily gloved to end the inning and the threat. Not bad, Mr. Price.
Pomeranz’s final line: 2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 4 ER.
After Sale had a 12.60 ERA in Game 1, Pomeranz’s work was good enough for an 18.00 ERA in Game 2. Thing was … it wasn’t entirely Pomeranz’s fault. He wasn’t throwing too many bad pitches. Houston’s hitters are just that good and that hot at this current moment.
Bottom 3rd, 1 out, 4-1 Astros: Carson Smith didn’t do a very good job. His first pitch went to the backstop, allowing Altuve to jog to second. Smith then walked Correa and then walked Gattis on four pitches.
Reddick absolutely scalded a ball down the third base line, but Marrero made a nice diving catch to record the first out of the inning.
Farrell made the move at that point, pulling Smith for Price, who enters with the bases loaded and one out. If this one’s going to remain a game, Price will need to be special here. He’l begin by facing Gurriel.
Bottom 3rd, 0 out, 4-1 Astros: For the second straight day, the fans in Houston gave the Red Sox starting pitcher a standing ovation on his way off the mound. What nice hosts.
This time it was Pomeranz making the long walk back to the dugout, much earlier than he had hoped. But after a home run (Springer), double (Bregman) and RBI single (Altuve), John Farrell strode to the mound to try to stop the bleeding.
Carson Smith is on, trying to escape a jam in the bottom of the third inning. This is not going well for the Red Sox.
Pomeranz allowed five hits and a walk in his two-plus innings of work. We’ll wait to see what the final damage is in the runs department, based on whether Smith can prevent Altuve from scoring.
Middle 3rd, 2-1 Astros: The Red Sox got nothing going in that inning, but home plate ump Angel Hernandez didn’t help.
After a lazy fly from Benintendi and a ground out by Betts, Ramirez worked the count full. Keuchel threw a fastball inside to the right-hander, missing by a good two inches, but Hernandez thought it was good enough. It was not.
End 2nd, 2-1 Astros: Pomeranz worked in a four-pitch walk to Gurriel but retired the other three batters he faced, getting Reddick to fly out, Gonzalez to strike out swinging, and McCann to pop out to short.
Benintendi, Betts and Ramirez are due up in the third.
Middle 2nd, 2-1 Astros: Jackie Bradley had himself an excellent at-bat. A most-excellent at-bat indeed.
With two on and one out, Bradley laid off a 2-2 slider that broke off the plate away from him. Bradley then fouled off a pair of low fastballs, and when he got another one, he sent it right back up the middle for an RBI single to get the Red Sox on the board.
The inning began with a Chris Young double to left-center, followed by a five-pitch walk to Christian Vazquez. Marrero struck out before Bradley’s at-bat.
Bogaerts stepped in with two on and one out, but he went down swinging at an inside cutter.
Pedroia, like Bradley, showed good discipline in taking a 1-2 cutter just off the inside edge to even the count at 2-2. But it went for naught, as Pedroia went down flailing at a slider in the dirt.
Still, the Sox are on the board, and Keuchel’s at 48 pitches.
End 1st, 2-0 Astros: Another day, another bomb off the bat of a Houston Astro.
This time it was Carlos Correa, who sent the fourth 2-2 pitch of his at-bat about a mile into left field. Pomeranz left one over the heart of the plate, and Correa treated it like a batting practice fastball. That thing was destroyed.
Altuve had reached on a two-out single into left prior to Correa’s at-bat, so it’s a 2-0 hole for the Boston Red Sox early on.
Gattis flew out to center to end the inning on Pomeranz’s 23rd pitch.
Middle 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox threatened. But they got nothing.
Following a Bogaerts groundout, Pedroia walked on four pitches. Benintendi then got ahead 2-0 before Angel Hernandez granted Keuchel a questionable low strike. He ended up grounding into a 4-6 fielder’s choice.
With two outs, Hernandez granted a late timeout to Betts, which drew the ire of Keuchel and the home crowd. Betts eventually dropped a bloop double (not a typo) into right field, setting up a second-and-third situation for Hanley Ramirez.
Hanley hit a soft chopper to third, and Bregman charged it and threw a strike across the diamond to get him by a step and end the threat.
Not a bad first for the Sox, even though they have nothing to show for it. Keuchel managed to throw just 18 pitches, despite all the activity.
Top 1st, 0-0: Keuchel’s first pitch to Bogaerts is a called strike and Game 2 is officially underway in Houston.
2:03 p.m.: It’s about that time for some playoff baseball.
12:15 p.m.: The ALDS moves fast, and so after just eight-and-a-half innings of baseball, the Red Sox already find themselves in a must-win situation.
Realistically, the idea of winning three out of four against Houston is daunting in and of itself. But falling behind 2-0 and forcing yourself to win three straight against one of the best teams in baseball? Not going to happen.
So, there will be quite a bit of pressure on Drew Pomeranz’s shoulders today, after Chris Sale flopped in Game on Thursday. Pomeranz’s success will begin by not allowing Jose Altuve to homer every time he wants.
There’s also pressure on manager John Farrell, who made the rather curious decision today to start Deven Marrero at third base over Rafael Devers. That’s a head-scratcher if there ever was one. We’ll see if it somehow works out; Farrell has a way of accidentally stumbling upon gold from time to time.
Houston will send Dallas Keuchel to the mound. Hanley Ramirez (2-for-2), Christian Vazquez (2-for-5), Jackie Bradley (2-for-6) and Dustin Pedroia (2-for-7) are the only starting Red Sox with more than one hit off Keuchel, though the entire team only has 72 combined plate appearances against him. So there’s not a whole lot of history to work with.
Whatever happens, it’ll all be broken down and analyzed right here in the live blog, so check back throughout the game for live updates.