BOSTON -- Considering the zero in the hits column on Saturday night, Alex Bregman spent an awful lot of time on base.
The Astros third baseman was officially 0-for-1 in Houston's 7-2 victory over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. But three walks and a hit-by-pitch landed Bregman on base four times, the first time in nearly five years that a player reached base that many times in the postseason without the benefit of a single hit.
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The last time it happened? Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, when David Ortiz walked four times -- three of them intentional -- against the Cardinals in this very same ballpark.
Bregman's three walks paced a patient Houston offense, which drew 10 free passes from Red Sox pitchers in the series opener. He was also one of three Astros to get hit by a pitch in the game. Of the 13 players who reached base without a hit, five came around to score.
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"I think our offense does a good job of finding ways on base," Bregman said. "It doesn't matter if we get a hit, a walk, hit by pitch; just trying to grind out at-bats. In the postseason, as many ways as you can get on base as possible is big. We did a good job of that tonight and we need to continue to do that if we want to win this series."
Bregman also did his share of work in the field on Saturday, recording seven assists at third base. None was bigger than his play in the fifth inning, when he fielded Mookie Betts' grounder with the bases loaded. Bregman fired a strike to the plate, beating Eduardo Nunez for the forceout to maintain Houston's one-run lead.
"Our pitchers did a great job of pounding the zone and keeping us fielders on our toes," Bregman said. "Our defense did a good job."
With the game tied, 2-2, in the sixth, Bregman stepped in against Joe Kelly to lead off the inning. He took a 100-mph fastball off his left triceps, staring out at the mound before taking first base. He would later come around to score what proved to be the decisive run on Carlos Correa's two-out single, glaring out at the field again after crossing the plate.
After the game, Bregman stressed that he had no hard feelings toward Kelly, no matter what it may have looked like at the time.
"I didn't look back at him at all; I looked at Correa because I was fired up that Correa did a good job," Bregman said. "I wasn't mad at Kelly at all. I know I looked back at the mound, but that's just because I was shocked; 100 miles an hour hit me and it kind of hurt. I knew he wasn't trying to hit me. It's part of the game."
Bregman drew his third walk of the night in the ninth, scoring on Yuli Gurriel's three-run homer that broke the game open. It was an odd night for the Astros' offense, which had only five hits despite putting 18 runners on base. However it happens, the Astros are happy to take the win and move one step closer to a repeat trip to the World Series.
"It was a good, hard-fought game," Bregman said. "We did a good job of competing all night, taking it one pitch at a time. The biggest thing for us is to continue to do that."