BOSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Justin Verlander got the win in a game he didn’t start as the Houston Astros advanced to the American League Championship series taking down the Boston Red Sox three games to one in the American League Division Series with a 5-4 win at Fenway Park on Monday.
Verlander replaced Astros starter Charlie Mortin in the fifth inning and promptly gave up a home run to move a 2-1 lead to a 3-2 deficit. The Red Sox brought on their ace pitcher Chris Sale in the 5th inning as well and after the Verlander home run the two pitchers used to starting did their best shut out reliever work.
In the 8th inning, Sale gave up a home run to Alex Bregman to tie the game for the Astros before handing the ball over to Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel ended up surrounding the go-ahead run on a single to Josh Reddick. Carlos Beltran added an RBI double in the 9th inning for some insurance for Astros closer Ken Giles to end the Red Sox season. It wasn’t without drama though as Rafael Devers hit an inside the park home run to lead off the ninth inning but Giles retired the next three batters to end the game and advance the team to the next round.
Yuri Gurriel went 3 for 5 with a single, double and a triple on the day, also reaching on an error lead the Astros along with George Springer’s three hits as they advance to the American League Championship Series for the first time in franchise history. This will be their first Championship Series since 2005 when they went to the World Series when they were still in the National League.
Verlander pitched 2 2/3 innings for his second win of the series.
The Astros will face the winner of the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees ALDS series. Cleveland leads the series 2-1 with game four Monday night in New York.