BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox offense has gone silent at the worst possible time, allowing the Astros to completely flip the momentum of the ALCS. Boston mustered just three hits in Game 5 Wednesday night at Fenway Park, falling to Houston 9-1 to drop into a 3-2 series hole.

The Astros took control of Game 5 with a five-run sixth inning, and now have the Red Sox facing elimination as the series heads back to Houston. The Astros scored 15 unanswered runs between the end of Game 4 and into Game 5, completely turning the series in the process.

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Houston starter Framber Valdez retired the first 12 batters in order on Wednesday night, and allowed just one run off three hits over eight innings of work. He struck out five and only walked one, needing just 93 pitches to shut down the Red Sox.

Boston’s first hit of the night was a line single by Rafael Devers to lead off the fifth. J.D. Martinez followed by getting hit by a pitch, giving the Red Sox two on and no out. But Hunter Renfroe grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and Devers was stranded on third when Alex Verdugo grounded out to first to end the inning.

Chris Sale was as solid as he’s been all postseason, allowing just one hit over the first three innings — a solo homer to Houston DH Yordan Alvarez to lead off the top of the second. Alvarez took Sale’s first pitch of the frame and deposited it into the stands atop the Green Monster, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead.

The Boston lefty ran into a little bit of trouble in the top of the fourth, but worked his way out of the jam. After walking Alex Bregman with one out, Sale gave up a scorching single to Alvarez high off the wall in left, putting runners on the corners with just one out. But Sale struck out Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker to end the threat. He ended up striking out the side in the inning, and let out a ferocious scream when he fanned Tucker on a 98 MPH fastball.

After a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Sale was once again in trouble in the top of the sixth. He plunked Jose Altuve to start the frame, and the Astros second baseman went to third when Michael Brantley followed with a little chopper to third base. With Boston in a shift, Altuve easily went first-to-third on the play, and Kyle Schwarber dropped Devers’ throw for an error, allowing Brantley to reach.

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After Alex Bregman grounded out to Sale, Alvarez roped a two-run double to left field, putting the Astros up 3-0.

That was the end of Sale’s evening. He went 5.1 innings in his longest — and best — start of the postseason, allowing four runs (only two of them earned) off three hits. Alvarez was responsible for all three of those hits as he drove in three of Houston’s first four runs.

“I was good for five and then sucked for one,” Sale said after the game.

Houston scored three more times in the inning off reliever Ryan Brasier, who allowed an RBI double to Yuri Gurriel and a two-run bloop single to Jose Siri, putting the Astros on top 6-0. Gurriel had three hits on the night, driving in two more runs in the top of the ninth to make it a 9-1 game.

Valdez worked around a one-out double by Christian Vazquez in the sixth, getting Enrique Hernandez to fly out to right and Schwarber to line out to first to end the inning. The Red Sox didn’t score their first run until the top of the seventh on a solo homer by Devers, his fifth of the postseason.

The top of Boston’s lineup — Hernandez, Schwarber and Xander Bogaerts — went 0-for-12 in Game 5. Devers and Vazquez were the only two batters to record a hit in the loss.

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The Astros took two of three at Fenway Park and are now one win away from advancing to the World Series with the ALCS shifting back to Houston. The Red Sox will turn to Nathan Eovaldi in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park on Friday night, as Boston looks to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 on Saturday.

CBSBoston.com Staff