For about five innings of Friday night’s game one of the ALCS, it looked like everything was going the Boston Red Sox’s way, especially when it came to Enrique Hernandez. However, the stalwarts of the Astros roster were the stars the shone the brightest deep in the heart of Texas with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve coming up big on the way to a 5-4 win.
How It Happened
The Astros had an early scare with the Red Sox loading the bases in the top of the first after Framber Valdez walked J.D. Martinez on a full count. Those fears were squashed by Hunter Renfroe flying out to center to keep it scoreless headed to the bottom frame.
The Astros were able to take an early lead in the bottom of the first with Yordan Alvarez hitting a sac fly to score Altuve. Houston had another golden opportunity in the bottom of the second when Michael Brantley came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, but an outstanding catch by Kike Hernandez stopped the Astros dead in their tracks.
He followed that up in the top of the third with a momentum-shifting solo shot to center field, silencing the fans at Minute Maid Park and tying the game at one run apiece. Altuve had a big error later in the inning that gave Boston a 2-1 lead. Renfroe finished off the inning with a well-hit double to plate Rafael Devers.
Up to that point, it looked like Altuve was having one of the worst nights in his career. However, all that changed in the sixth when he lifted one to left-center field to even things up at three-all. Carlos Correa put Houston back out in front in the seventh with a booming, two-out solo home run that was punctuated by a bat flip and a gesture to his wrist stating that it was his time, bringing the fans to their feet in the process.
Altuve gave the Astros some insurance in the eighth with a sac fly that scored Yuli Gurriel. That insurance proved to be the difference because after another leadoff bomb by Hernandez, the Astros sat down the next three batters to take game one of the ALCS.
Big Number: 4:07
The game of baseball has been talking about speeding up the pace of play and in some cases this was one that moved at a glacial pace, running for four hours and seven minutes.
Player of the Game: Enrique Hernandez
They may have lost, but Kike was on another level on Friday night. The Red Sox center fielder went 4-for-5 with two home runs and was a triple shy of a cycle. It was incredible to see what he was able to do all night.
Next Up: Saturday vs Boston; First Pitch at 3:07