Elsa/Getty Images

Hanley Ramirez leads Red Sox past Astros 10-3, forces ALDS Game 4

1 Comment

Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez had himself a day on Sunday in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Astros. The veteran of 13 seasons went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI, helping the Red Sox defeat the Astros 10-3 to force Game 4. Ramirez joins Jake Lamb as players to have four-hit games so far this postseason.

The Astros started quick, plating three runs off of Red Sox starter Doug Fister in the top of the first inning. Josh Reddick knocked in the first run with a single and Carlos Correa followed up with a two-run home run with one out. In the top of the second, the Astros nearly had another three-spot. Carlos Beltran walked and Yuli Gurriel singled to open the frame. After getting Brian McCann to line out, manager John Farrell yanked Fister from the game, handing him the shortest ALDS start since 2014. Joe Kelly came in and had his heart sink when Reddick lifted a fly ball to deep right field, but Mookie Betts caught the ball over the wall before it could land, stealing a three-run home run.

From there, it was all Red Sox. They cut the deficit by one with a Sandy Leon RBI single in the bottom of the second against starter Brad Peacock. In the third, the Sox put together a two-out rally. Mitch Moreland doubled, then scored on Ramirez’s single. Francisco Liriano relieved Peacock, then served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Rafael Devers. Devers is the sixth player since 1903 to hit a postseason homer before the age of 21.

David Price came in to relieve Kelly to start the fourth and turned in a stellar performance. His tenure in Boston has been rocky, to say the least, so he needed this and so did the Red Sox. He hurled four shutout innings, yielding four hits and a walk while striking out four on 57 pitches.

The Red Sox broke the game open in the seventh. The first five batters reached base: Andrew Benintendi walked, then Betts and Moreland singled to load the bases. Ramirez then ripped a ground ball double to left-center field, pushing two more runs across for a 6-3 game. Devers then blooped a weak single to shallow left field to score another run. After Leon flied out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. lifted a home run down the right field line that glanced off of the glove of a leaping Reddick, bumping the score to 10-3.

Addison Reed entered in the eighth, working around a two-out Gurriel single for a scoreless frame. Carson Smith came on in the ninth and, despite giving up a pair of singles, had a stress-free time closing out the 10-3 victory.

The series continues on Monday (time to be determined, per MLB.com’s Alyson Footer) with the Astros leading two games to one. The Astros will send Charlie Morton to the hill. The Red Sox have not announced a starter yet.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
Leave a comment

If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.