Red Sox stay alive with win over Astros
BOSTON — A rookie hitter, a veteran hitter and a veteran starter-turned-reliever gave the Boston Red Sox new life on Sunday.
Rafael Devers delivered a go-ahead, two-run home run in the third inning, Hanley Ramirez came up with some timely hits, and David Price tossed four scoreless innings out of the bullpen to help Boston avoid elimination with a 10-3 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
Houston, which won both Game 1 and 2 by a score of 8-2, leads the best-of-five series 2-1. Game 4 is Monday afternoon in Boston.
“They changed the momentum before I came in with the hits we had,” Price said. “Devers, with that big hit, Hanley, one of his four (hits), our offense, they responded back.”
Indeed, the Red Sox found themselves in an early three-run hole before rallying. Devers’ homer gave them Boston a 4-3 lead, its first advantage of the series.
The homer was the Devers’ first in the playoffs, making him the youngest Red Sox player ever (20 years, 349 days) to homer in a playoff game and just the sixth player in major league history to homer in the postseason before turning 21.
“He’s an extremely talented kid, and I think we marvel at the fact that he’s 20 years of age,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run homer, also his first career playoff blast, while Ramirez went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and Sandy Leon drove in another run for the Red Sox.
Price gave up just four hits and walk while striking out four to keep the Red Sox in front in a close game early on.
“It feels good to put up zeros in the playoffs,” said Price, who has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings of relief with six strikeouts in two appearances this series. “That’s why I signed here.”
Joe Kelly (1-0) earned the win after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Doug Fister.
Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer, his second of the series, and Josh Reddick added an RBI for the Astros.
“We’re going to be fine. We’ll bounce back out of this and come back and play hard,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “But this is playoff baseball. If anybody thought the Red Sox were going to lay down, (they should) probably rethink it.”
The winner of the Astros-Red Sox series will face either the Cleveland Indians or New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series. Cleveland led its series with New York 2-0 entering Game 3 on Sunday night.
“The Red Sox, it’s an unbelievable team and it’s a winning team. It’s about winning here,” Ramirez said of the team’s approach.
Fister was pulled after giving up three runs in 1 1/3 innings, marking the shortest postseason outing for a Red Sox starter since Bret Saberhagen lasted one inning on Oct. 11, 1999.
Fister allowed four hits, walked one and struck out one.
In the series, Boston’s starting rotation of Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz and Fister has allowed a combined 14 runs over 8 1/3 innings for a 15.12 ERA.
Houston starter Brad Peacock departed after 2 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts in his first career postseason appearance.
Astros reliever Francisco Liriano (0-1) gave up the go-ahead homer to Devers and took the loss.
“We’re up 2-1 in the series, and our main focus is to win it,” said Houston’s Lance McCullers, who gave up two runs in three innings of relief. “It doesn’t matter how it’s done. So we’ll come back (Monday), clean slate and try to get it done.”
Houston enjoyed another fast start against a shaky Fister, scoring three runs in the first inning.
Reddick’s RBI single two batters into the game opened the scoring and was followed by Correa’s blast of approximately 385 feet to center field the next at-bat to make it 3-0.
Fister’s first-inning ERA in his starts this season ballooned to 10.13.
Boston got one run back on Leon’s single with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second, but Peacock retired the next three batters to escape the jam.
The Astros’ 3-1 lead after two innings made them the first team in major league history to hold a lead for the first 20 innings of any postseason series.
In the third, Ramirez brought the Red Sox within a run on his two-out RBI single before Devers delivered his homer of an estimated 430 feet over the bullpens in right-center to put Boston ahead.
A bases-loaded double with nobody out in the seventh by Ramirez and a bloop RBI single from Devers the next at-bat put Boston ahead 7-3.
Bradley smacked his homer to right two batters later to make it 10-3. Houston right fielder Reddick got the ball in his glove up against the wall, but it bounced out into the stands.
“It was very unfortunate for myself and the team. Nothing you can do,” Reddick said of the play.
NOTES: Boston RF Mookie Betts was back in the lineup and batting cleanup after leaving Game 2 on Friday in the eighth inning with a left wrist flare-up. ... Houston RF Josh Reddick, a left-handed batter, hit out of the two-hole against RHP Doug Fister with Carlos Beltran serving as the DH. “I love having Reddick in between (George) Springer and (Jose) Altuve with a right-handed starter,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ... Red Sox manager John Farrell dispelled rumors about his job security should the team lose back-to-back AL Division Series. “(The media) reminds me how often it comes up, but it hasn’t changed my approach with our guys at all,” Farrell said. ... Security personnel roamed the upper-deck roofs throughout the game amid heightened safety concerns after reports that the Las Vegas mass shooter had considered Fenway Park as a potential target. ... Astros RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) opposes Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (11-17, 4.65 ERA) in Game 4.