These two teams expect to see each other again when it really counts.
That will be something to watch.
In the two previous victories the Astros came from behind and hung on to win. Tonight their chance to go ahead was nullified by one of the most dubious replay decisions that this writer has ever seen.
With Jose Altuve on third and one out, he came home on a ground ball by Yuli Gurriel. Altuve slid behind the plate but the umpire ruled that the tag beat Altuve’s hand touching home base. Video loops seemed to confirm over and over again that Altuve touched home before the tag, the ESPN announcers unanimously declared their belief that Altuve was safe. But the umpires in New York confirmed the call, and the Astros and Red Sox remained mired in a 5-5 tie.
Here is a photo finish of the play in question.
It was explained later that perhaps a string of the glove touched Altuve before Altuve touched the bag.
Regardless of the call, this was a game fought inning by inning, pitch by pitch, as though each team were imagining that this was game seven of the ALCS.
The Red Sox at one point led 5-1, and with Astros starter Dallas Keuchel struggling, it seemed to some that this game might be an easy Red Sox win. Oh ye of little faith. Do you not remember how the Astros had battled from behind in bigger games than this.
The Boston scoring started, as it did in the other two games in this series, on a Xander Bogaerts RBI, a single which scored Mookie Betts. These two were the main Astros nemeses all weekend.
In the third J.D. Martinez would sacrifice Betts home for the second run, but in the fifth he would do the real damage, a three run homer on a hanging change up by Keuchel that cleared the Green Monster in left field. Martinez had been quiet thus far in the series. It was only a matter of time before this triple crown candidate made his presence felt. It was his 40th home run of the season.
The Astros answered with a second inning home run by Marwin Gonzalez, his 15th. But for those who doubt the fighting spirit of the Astros, their sixth inning comeback to tie the score reminded of certain unforgettable World Series comebacks of which I know all you dear readers are familiar.
Altuve led off the inning with a home run, his first since his DL stint. With one out Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa singled, and with two outs Tyler White doubled both of them home. Josh Reddick would double White home, leaving men on second and third and two outs. George Springer would finish the inning stranding these runners on a strike out.
Springer stranded three batters for the night and struck out three times.
In the seventh Altuve led off the inning with a bunt single, but as already explained, was nullified at home on the replay call.
Boston mounted a serious threat in the eighth, loading the bases against slumping Collin McHugh with one out. Tony Sipp was sent in and got two strike outs to keep the game tied.
The Red Sox won the game on three singles in the ninth against Hector Rondon, the first by Andrew Benintendi, and with two outs consecutive singles by Bogaerts, and the walk off by pinch hitter Mitch Moreland.
Moreland’s single to left bounced right in front of Marwin Gonzalez, and some question whether Gonzalez could have made a greater effort to dive for the ball and prevent the run. It appeared that he intended to snag the ball on a bounce with his throwing hand and then rely on his strong arm to throw out the runner at the plate. However, he never secured the ball and the runner on second scored easily. Game over.
Well, here’s some good stuff that happened.
Tony Sipp’s second strike out.
Here’s are amazing defensive plays by Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick with Joe Smith pitching.
The defense is just showing off tonight. pic.twitter.com/5ljTAnNBiX— Houston Astros (@astros) September 10, 2018
Here’s Marwin’s home run, and the celebration that followed.
And here’s the Altuve blast. We haven’t seen too many of these this year.
"Home runs are rally killers." pic.twitter.com/GCzsfIqPpC— Houston Astros (@astros) September 10, 2018
Tomorrow the Astros open a series against the Tiger in Detroit. It is a homecoming for Justin Verlander, who opposes our old friend, Francisco Liriano.
Early game time 5:10 CDT.
Box score and video here.