After a big win at home in Game 2 to draw the series even, Boston was set for three straight in enemy territory. With Nathan Eovaldi tabbed for Game 3, a win would certainly swing the advantage fully in the Red Sox favor.
The game started at 4:09 PM local time (5:09 ET) and saw Boston matching up with a former Cy Young Award winner in Dallas Keuchel. Boston’s offense wasted no time in getting to the left-hander with three straight hits to start the ballgame including an RBI double from J.D. Martinez. Bogaerts drove in another in the first and Boston spotted their starter a 2-0 lead.
Eovaldi struggled with command early on needing a lot of pitches to get through the first few innings, but still held on to the lead at 2-1 into the 5th inning. If you’ll recall yesterday Astros third baseman Alex Bregman trolled the Boston starter on his Instagram page posting clips of him taking Eovaldi deep three times earlier in the season when the Italian pitched for Tampa Bay. Bregman was also the guy that was a menace all game at the plate and with his glove reaching base three times and making one awesome play after another.
It was Bregman who tied the game on a two-out “double” in the 5th that was horribly misplayed by Boston’s third baseman Rafael Devers going for the back-hand that he completely whiffed on and the ball wound up in left field. The game was tied 2-2 after the first 5 innings at Minute Maid Park.
It did not stay tied for very long as first baseman Steve Pearce quickly broke the tie with a towering 456-ft home run inside the LF foul pole off reliever Joe Smith. Pearce had just missed a two-run double earlier in the game that Astros LF Tony Kemp made an incredible and controversial leaping catch on.
Eovaldi finished the 6th inning and his night was complete. He became the fourth pitcher in Red Sox history to throw 6+ IP and allow two runs or fewer in each of his first two career postseason games.
Ryan Brasier continued his great postseason with a clean 7th inning before the Boston offense had the opportunity to break it open in the 8th. After Rafael Devers beat the shift, Boston skipper Alex Cora called on Brock Holt to pinch hit for Ian Kinsler. Astros closer Roberto Osuna was brought in to hold the deficit and he did anything but drilling Holt in the foot to load the bases. Osuna would also hit the punch-hitting Mitch Moreland before Jackie Bradley Jr. put the final exclamation on the night with a grand slam with two outs in the 8th to right.
The Red Sox now sit in the catbird seat after a clutch Game 3 victory. Nathan Eovaldi turned in the quality start and earned another win while the Boston offense made the most of their opportunities and went for the kill in the late innings. Red Sox won it by an 8-2 final score.
Rick Porcello, who is viewed by many as one of Boston’s MVPs this postseason through his big-moment pitching both as a starter and reliever, gets the nod in Houston opposite fellow two-seamer Charlie Morton. There’s no other guy I’d rather have on the mound right now than Porcello going for the 3-1 series lead and critical advantage in the ALCS. A win tomorrow and you’re 27 outs away from the Fall Classic.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank