Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a go-ahead, bases-clearing double with two outs in the third inning, and the Boston Red Sox evened the American League Championship Series at one game apiece with a 7-5 victory over the visiting Houston Astros on Sunday night.
Oct 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) hits a three RBI double during the third inning against the Houston Astros in game two of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Game 3 is Tuesday in Houston.
Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers had RBI singles in the opening inning off Gerrit Cole (0-1) before Bradley’s key hit two innings later.
“I mean, he’s been doing that for a while,” Boston manager Alex Cora said of Bradley. “Got to the point during the season that we had to actually take him out of the lineup for three, four, five days during the week — actually right before we went to Houston.
“And he worked on his craft. He found a few things that he really liked about his swing. Seems like now he understands who he is as a hitter. There’s not too many hard-hit ground balls into his shift. He’s staying through it.”
Mookie Betts scored on Benintendi’s hit and also scored an insurance run in the seventh on the second passed ball of the inning by catcher Martin Maldonado. He added an RBI double in the eighth off Hector Rondon.
Houston’s George Springer extended his postseason hitting streak to 11 games with two hits, including a two-run double. Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run homer for the Astros, who host the next three games after losing for the first time in this year’s postseason.
Boston left-hander David Price remained winless as a starter in the postseason. In his 11th career playoff start, he allowed four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Price exited to a nice hand from the crowd after issuing two walks in the fifth, and it was the first time his team won any of his postseason starts.
“It wasn’t the line I dreamed up to have tonight, but our offense, our defense, everybody rallied together,” Price said. “That’s what we’ve done all year. Whenever starters needed to be picked up, they picked us up and vice versa. So that was big.”
Matt Barnes followed Price by getting the next four outs. Ryan Brasier retired Yuli Gurriel with tying run on base to end a scoreless seventh, and Rick Porcello struck out two in a perfect eighth.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-out double to Springer in the ninth. Springer took third on a wild pitch and scored on Jose Altuve’s single off the Green Monster, but Kimbrel got the save when Benintendi made a twisting catch in front of the wall on Alex Bregman’s fly ball to left.
Cole allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits in six innings.
“I thought he was a little over-amped,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said of Cole. “He was pretty excited. A lot of energy. Wasn’t making a ton of pitches. And then he found it. … The line’s going to (look) a little bit tougher on him than he pitched.”
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead two batters into the bottom of the first when Betts doubled to deep center and scored on Benintendi’s single. After Cole made a throwing error on a ground ball by Xander Bogaerts, he walked Steve Pearce to load the bases. Devers then slapped a single to left.
The Astros tied the game in the second when Springer doubled down the right field line past Pearce’s dive at first base. Gonzalez made it 4-2 when he hit Price’s full-count fastball off an advertisement above the Monster seats with two outs in the third.
Gonzalez nearly exited the game in the bottom of the third when he crashed into the Green Monster attempting to catch Pearce’s fly ball that went for a double. He crashed to the ground, was attended to by a trainer for a few minutes and stayed in the game.
Hinch said of Gonzalez, “He got back to the wall. He’s played a couple of balls off this wall almost like a home player. He’s pretty good out there. He banged his back, upper back and neck. We went out there to make sure there was no issue with his head. And there wasn’t.
“The ball, the wall, he’s backpedaling. He’s got to make a decision on whether or not to concede the wall and try to play it off the wall or try to make a catch. It’s not too dissimilar to what he’s got to do at home, at our place. But it’s a well-placed hit.”
After Cole fanned Ian Kinsler with the bases loaded later in the bottom of the third, Bradley sliced a double down the left field line, near the foul pole and off the wall for a 5-4 Red Sox lead. The ball caromed off the wall and onto the padding in front of the left field seats, allowing Devers to score the go-ahead run.
“It’s pretty cool,” Bradley said of the lucky bounces. “I’ve never seen it ride the top of that little edge like that before. It’s pretty unique.”
—Field Level Media