Red Sox beat Astros 10-3, avoid elimination in ALDS Game 3
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez waved a “Believe in Boston” flag during pregame introductions, drawing cheers from a Fenway Park crowd fearful of a second straight postseason sweep.
Then he gave the Red Sox exactly what they wished for: more October baseball.
“I just tried to wake everybody up,” Ramirez said after delivering four hits and three RBIs to lead the AL East champions to a 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Sunday.
“I think that’s my job: Find a way to come through in big situations,” the designated hitter said. “It’s the playoffs. It’s go time.”
David Price pitched four scoreless innings after another Boston starter faltered, and 20-year-old Rafael Devers hit the go-ahead homer to help the Red Sox snap a five-game postseason losing streak.
Mitch Moreland had three of Boston’s 15 hits — matching its combined total from Games 1 and 2, a pair of 8-2 losses. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first postseason homer, a three-run shot in a six-run seventh that put the game away.
Game 4 of the best-of-five series is Monday in Boston. First pitch will be at 1:08 p.m. — it would have been moved to 7:08 p.m. if Cleveland had finished its ALDS sweep of the Yankees later Sunday.
Houston right-hander Charlie Morton will start against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello.
Rain is in the forecast.
“We’ve been watching The Weather Channel for a couple of months now,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch, whose team was forced to play a home series in Tampa Bay in August when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston. “So that’s not unusual for us.”
Carlos Correa homered for the Astros as they took a first-inning lead for the third straight game. Up 3-0 with two on and one out in the second, Houston chased Doug Fister and Joe Kelly retired George Springer before Josh Reddick hit a long fly ball to right field that Mookie Betts caught at the top of the short wall to end the inning.
“It would have been a great spot for us to get another three runs and big momentum for us. And that seemed to be big momentum for those guys,” Reddick said. “They come up after that and they take the lead. So I just l wish the park was a little bit shorter.”
RED SOX RELIEF
Kelly pitched the third, and then Price scattered four hits and a walk while throwing 57 pitches in his longest outing since July. Since going to the bullpen in September after missing most of the season with elbow problems, Price has made seven straight scoreless appearances.
“He’s a machine. He’s a competitor. And when he’s on the mound he’s going to give everything he has,” Ramirez said. “That’s him. That’s his attitude. And that’s why he’s here.”
EARLY TROUBLE II
Astros starter Brad Peacock escaped the second inning with a 3-1 lead despite loading the bases with nobody out, but he ran into bigger trouble in the third.
After Peacock struck out Boston’s No. 3 and 4 hitters, Andrew Benintendi and Betts, Moreland doubled and scored on Ramirez’s line drive over left fielder Marwin Gonzalez’s outstretched glove. Francisco Liriano gave up Devers’ two-run homer to right that gave Boston a 4-3 lead — its first in 44 postseason innings dating to Game 1 of the 2016 ALDS.
Peacock allowed three runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings. Liriano got just one out while allowing one run and two hits for the Astros, who have never swept a postseason series.
Devers, who turns 21 on Oct. 24, is the youngest Red Sox player to homer in the postseason and one of only six players in major league history to hit a postseason home run before their 21st birthday.
The others: Mickey Mantle, Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
BACKING IT UP
Ramirez, who was on the bench to start Game 1, drove in two more runs with a seventh-inning double before Bradley’s homer bounced off Reddick’s glove and into the stands behind the Pesky Pole.
“You like any player that is willing to step up and speak and then back it up,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said, noting that Ramirez vowed Saturday that the team would not be swept in two straight years. “He had that energy … it was fantastic. He had a big day.”
Houston reliever Lance McCullers took a hard comebacker off his ankle in the fourth, but needed only one warmup pitch to test it and stay in the game.
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