BOSTON -- They had to win to avoid going home for the season, and the energized Red Sox relied on various resources to make sure Sunday was not the last game at Fenway Park this season.From the bats of Hanley Ramirez (4-for-4, three RBIs) and Rafael Devers (homer, three RBIs)
BOSTON -- They had to win to avoid going home for the season, and the energized Red Sox relied on various resources to make sure Sunday was not the last game at Fenway Park this season.
From the bats of Hanley Ramirez (4-for-4, three RBIs) and Rafael Devers (homer, three RBIs) to the shutdown relief of David Price (four innings, four K's) and the glove of Mookie Betts, the Sox answered in a big way to down the Astros, 10-3, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan to avoid being swept in the first round for the second consecutive postseason.
:: ALDS schedule and coverage ::
• Hanley comes up big in Game 3
It had been a tense game for most of the day, but the Boston bats broke it open with a six-run seventh inning that included a two-run double to the gap in left-center by Ramirez and a three-run homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. that was deflected into the stands by Astros right fielder Josh Reddick.
• JBJ gets an assist
"We played with more of a sense of urgency," said Betts. "I know we understand it's kind of like a 'do or die or go home' situation. I think every game we should play with this sense of urgency."
The Astros provided an early scare, riding a two-run shot by Carlos Correa in the top of the first to a 3-0 lead before the Red Sox even came to bat.
But unlike the first two games in Houston, Boston -- backed by a loud home crowd -- responded from the mound and at the plate.
"We got to [Red Sox starter Doug] Fister early, but then their bullpen came in, and Price was really good today," said Correa, who has six RBIs in the series. "You've got to give credit to the guy when he pitched the way he pitched today. His cutter was very sharp, and he was working off that. He did his part. You have to tip the hat."
The Red Sox will try to stave off elimination again in Monday's Game 4, which will be played at 1:08 p.m. ET. The Astros are still in the driver's seat: teams that have led 2-1 in the Division Series are 44-16 all-time.
Devers mashed a two-run homer to right with two outs in the third, putting the Red Sox in the lead, 4-3, and sending the crowd into a frenzy. The blast came against lefty reliever Francisco Liriano just after Ramirez had chased Astros starter Brad Peacock with an RBI single just over the head of left fielder Marwin Gonzalez.
"Turned the game around," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Obviously, they're trying to match up, but he [got] a pitch up out over the plate and put a beautiful swing on it."
• Justice: Farrell not deviating from approach
Price became the story after that, cooling off a loaded Houston offense and throwing 57 pitches, his highest total since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 14.
"He was great. He got the ball and flat-out stopped them," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We need to continue to play with that sense of urgency and keep going."
That early 3-0 lead for the Astros came inches from turning to 6-0 when Reddick belted one to deep right in the second, but Betts flagged it down before it could land in the stands.
"I wish it would have went over," Reddick said. "It would have been a great spot for us to get another three runs and some big momentum for us. That seemed to be the big momentum swing for those guys. I just wish the park was a little bit shorter."
"Once it was up in the air, I saw it had a lot of air under it, so I figured it was going to stay in the park, but it just kept going and kept going," said Betts. "Fortunately, I was able to run under it, and the fan didn't interfere with it."
The Red Sox gained the momentum from there and never gave it back.
"We'll bounce back out of this and come back and play hard," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "But this is playoff baseball. If anybody thought the Red Sox were going to lay down, probably rethink it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Devers delivers: Devers gave the Red Sox their first lead of the series when he smashed a two-run homer over Boston's bullpen and into the bleachers in right-center to become the youngest player in team history to go deep in a postseason game. Not only that, but Devers is the fifth youngest in baseball history to do so, at 20 years and 349 days. The only younger players to accomplish the feat are Andruw Jones, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Jose Cabrera. More >
"He's an extremely talented kid, and I think we marvel at the fact that he's 20 years of age," said Farrell. "He's come into this environment, come into this setting, this market, and has performed fantastic. Probably better than we anticipated. But the timing of this one is a big swing."
Price check: When Price went back out for the seventh, he had to go through the dangerous meat of Houston's batting order with his team clinging to a 4-3 lead. After Jose Altuve drew a walk, Correa stepped to the plate as the potential go-ahead run. But Price got Correa to fly out to right and struck out Gonzalez before walking off the mound to a huge ovation. More >
"It doesn't surprise me. I know David. He's a machine, he's a competitor, and when he's on the mound, he's going to give everything he has," said Ramirez.
"It was like a knockout punch if that ball goes out." -- Correa, on Betts' catch to rob Reddick of a three-run homer in the second
"I can do this as a starter, too, I just haven't done it yet. Period. Pitching suits me well, and that's what I did. It has nothing to do with relieving or starting, I just threw the ball well today." -- Price, on why he pitches so well in the postseason as a reliever
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 15 hits by the Red Sox represented their highest total in a postseason contest since Game 3 of the 2007 World Series, against the Rockies.
This was the third time in club history the Red Sox won a postseason game when the starter didn't finish the second inning. The other two times? Games 4 and 5 of the 1999 ALDS, when the Red Sox came back from the same 2-0 deficit they hope to climb out of this year.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In his first at-bat after his homer, Devers hit into a 4-6-3 double play. It was a close enough play at first that Farrell called for a challenge, but the call stood.
Astros:Charlie Morton, coming off his best season in the big leagues, will get the ball for the Astros in Game 4 at Fenway Park on Monday. Morton went 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA in the regular season, including 7-3 with a 3.03 ERA in his final 12 starts.
Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello, who was inconsistent in 2017 (11-17, 4.65 ERA) after winning the AL Cy Young Award in '16, starts Game 4. Porcello had a strong inning out of the bullpen in Game 1 but was roughed up by the Astros in a start at Minute Maid Park on June 17, when he gave up 10 hits and seven runs over six innings in a 7-1 loss.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.