Boston’s surprise season ends in Houston as Red Sox bats go cold, fall in ALCS to Astros

Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. (Photo by Ty Welch/Unsplash)

By Dan Treacy
Boston University News Service

The Red Sox saw their season come to an end at Minute Maid Park on Friday, falling 5-0 to the Astros as Houston advanced to its third World Series in five years.

Boston’s pitching staff again did not have an answer for Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, who went 4 for 4 and scored two runs. The former Rookie of the Year doubled home Alex Bregman in the first inning, and he’d score again after doubling in the sixth inning. Alvarez hit .522 over the course of the series, taking home ALCS MVP honors.

The Red Sox lost three consecutive games to end their season, struggling to put runners on base after a promising start to the series. Astros starter Luis Garcia didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning in Friday’s Game 6, and Red Sox hitters were just 10-for-90 (.111) with 25 strikeouts over the final three games of the series. 

Boston’s  biggest offensive opportunity in Game 6 came in the seventh inning, with runners on first and third base, but ended when Alex Verdugo was caught stealing by Martin Maldonado after a strikeout from Travis Shaw. Verdugo recorded one of the Red Sox’s two hits in the defeat.

During a postgame conference, Alex Cora defended his decision to send Verdugo, saying, “I bet on my players … [Maldonado] made a perfect throw.”

The Red Sox trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but a three-run home run from Kyle Tucker off Adam Ottavino gave Houston a comfortable lead. Houston’s Ryan Pressly later closed out the Red Sox with a perfect ninth inning.

Nathan Eovaldi lasted 4 ⅓ innings in the loss, allowing one earned run and showing some emotion after working out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth inning. 

A season that began with tempered expectations ended with a late-season surge that energized players and fans alike. Alex Cora, suspended by the league and fired in 2020 as a result of his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, guided the Red Sox to the postseason in his first season back in Boston. The team managed to come within two wins of the World Series after finishing last in the AL East in 2020. 

Cora said following the game that he told the team he was proud of their season. 

“It’s an amazing group. It’s a group we will always remember,” Cora said. 

The Astros will face either the Braves or Dodgers in the World Series, which begins on Tuesday. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will start their 2022 season on March 31 at Fenway Park against the Rays. 

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