The Astros beat the Red Sox, 5-4, in Game 4 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan to advance to the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World. We were on the scene in and around Fenway Park.
5:10 p.m. ET: Wild conclusion
The thrills continued in the eighth inning at Fenway Park, where Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was struck for his first go-ahead hit all year, an RBI single off the bat of Josh Reddick that gave the Astros a 4-3 lead.
Houston added on in the ninth courtesy of postseason vet Carlos Beltran, who sent an RBI double off the Green Monster, providing breathing room for Ken Giles.
The Astros closer needed it, watching Rafael Devers lead off the ninth with an inside-the-park home run that narrowed Houston's lead to one run, at 5-4. It ended up being the final score. More >
4:23 p.m. ET: Sale stellar in relief
Left-hander Chris Sale provided much-needed relief for a Red Sox club trying to stave off elimination, departing to a standing ovation with two outs in the eighth inning, despite surrendering a game-tying home run to Alex Bregman to begin the frame. The club's ace, who was summoned for the start of the fourth inning, kept the Astros off the board while his teammates went to work on securing a temporary 3-2 lead. Sale retired each of his first seven batters before Yuli Gurriel reached on an error with one out in the sixth. Sale responded by striking out each of his next two hitters, returning for the seventh and stranding two. As Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel got ready in the bullpen, Sale was back out for the eighth, giving up the Bregman homer and an Evan Gattis single before turning the game over to Kimbrel with two outs. Bregman's homer spoiled an otherwise excellent 77-pitch outing. More >
4:14 p.m. ET: Bregman brings it, Houston gets even Alex Bregman silenced Fenway Park, leading off the eighth inning with a game-tying homer against lefty Chris Sale, the same pitcher he went deep off of in Game 1. Bregman's solo shot came on a 2-1 changeup, traveling over the Green Monster to knot the game, 3-3, as Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel began warming in the bullpen.
3:20 p.m. ET: This Just-in -- Boston takes the lead
With Red Sox lefty Chris Sale dealing in relief for Boston, the Astros boldly countered with right-hander Justin Verlander, who entered the game with one out in the fifth inning for his first career relief appearance. At the onset of this series, it was widely assumed that both pitchers would start a potential Game 5. Verlander inherited one baserunner from starter Charlie Morton, and Andrew Benintendi greeted the veteran ace with a home run, belting a go-ahead, two-run shot to right field for a 3-2 Boston lead in front of a raucous Fenway crowd that mightily delivered "Jus-tin" chants thereafter. More >
Benintendi's home run had an exit velocity of 90.4 mph, making it the "softest" hit postseason home run since Statcast™ debuted in 2015. The previous low was a 90.7-mph home run that Daniel Murphy (then with the Mets) hit against the Cubs in Game 2 of the '15 NLCS. More >
3:11 p.m. ET: Count it
After working a scoreless fourth, Chris Sale returned to the mound in the fifth and delivered another 1-2-3 inning. Jose Altuve attempted to reach on a bunt, but Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers fielded it and fired to Mitch Moreland at first in time for the first out of the inning. Sale then struck out Carlos Correa looking and got an inning-ending flyout from Marwin Gonzalez. The Astros, meanwhile, have Justin Verlander warming in the bullpen.
2:58 p.m.: Chrisguided
After Rick Porcello gave up two runs over three innings, the Red Sox decided to hand over the reins to ace Chris Sale, who entered in relief in the fourth looking to keep Boston within one run. Sale, who struggled in his Game 1 start against the Astros, promptly delivered the first 1-2-3 inning of the game, striking out Brian McCann looking, inducing a pop out from George Springer and coaxing a groundout from Josh Reddick. The lanky left-hander walked off the mound to a nice ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park.
2:43 p.m. ET: Defense delivers
The Astros squashed yet another Red Sox scoring opportunity in the third inning, this time with their defense. After Andrew Benintendi led off the frame with a single, Mookie Betts lined one straight into the glove of third baseman Alex Bregman, who quickly fired the ball to first base to double off Benintendi. Boston fought back with a Mitch Moreland double, but the first baseman was easily tagged out at home plate trying to score on Hanley Ramirez's base hit. Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez's throw came in at 93.6 mph, per Statcast™. Houston escaped with a 2-1 lead, while the Red Sox countered with lefty Chris Sale to begin the fourth inning.
2:15 p.m. ET: Farrell ejected
Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Wegner in the second inning, rushing to defend his second baseman on account of disagreements concerning the strike zone. Dustin Pedroia was rung up on strikes with the bases loaded for the second out of the inning after the same thing happened to Jackie Bradley Jr. for the first out. He became the first manager to get tossed in a postseason game since former Nationals skipper Matt Williams was ejected in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series. A heated Pedroia exchanged words with Wegner, quickly leading Farrell out of the dugout.
The inning soured even more for Boston when Xander Bogaerts flied out to end the frame, spoiling a prime scoring opportunity and allowing Houston to maintain a 2-1 lead. Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale began throwing in the bullpen as the frame drew to a close. More >
1:49 p.m. ET: Spring forward
Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who enjoyed a 4-for-4 day in Game 3, picked up right where he left off with a triple in his first at-bat in the second inning Monday, sending a line drive to right field that was just out of the reach of a sliding Mookie Betts. Right-hander Rick Porcello nearly wiggled his way out of the jam, fanning Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, but George Springer delivered an RBI single for his second hit of the day, allowing Houston to regain a 2-1 lead and triggering action in the Red Sox bullpen. Right-hander Joe Kelly, who tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3, was seen warming, as Porcello worked overtime to escape the inning: Josh Reddick notched a single and Jose Altuve walked to load the bases, before Carlos Correa went down swinging.
1:38 p.m. ET: X marks the pop
Xander Bogaerts snapped an 0-for-14 start to the series in a big way, crushing a solo home run off Charlie Morton to tie the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the first inning. Bogaerts deposited a 3-1 sinker from Morton 385 feet over the center-field fence, according to Statcast™. He had 27 career home runs at home entering today, including the postseason, and the big fly was his first opposite-field shot at Fenway.
1:24 p.m. ET: All about that pace
Like clockwork, the Astros struck first against the Red Sox, as they've done in each of the first four games of this series. Facing reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, Houston got a leadoff double from George Springer, who advanced to third on a wild pitch. Following a walk to Josh Reddick, Jose Altuve grounded into a double play that brought in a run for a quick 1-0 lead. Porcello issued another walk to Carlos Correa and hit Marwin Gonzalez before retiring Alex Bregman via strikeout and finishing the inning at 25 pitches -- only 11 thrown for strikes. Houston is batting .421 (8-for-19) with a 1.105 slugging percentage in the first inning of this series.
12:45 p.m. ET: Sign here
Dustin Pedroia is focused on his imminent Game 4 start, but he's always got time to give fans an autograph.
11:40 a.m. ET: Astros manager ready for anything
"We don't deal with this in Houston [because of the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park]," said Hinch. "We'll adapt accordingly. If we play two hours and then have to wait out a rain delay, so be it. If we play an hour and wait out a rain delay, so be it. If we play the quickest game in Fenway history and win, that would be the best outcome. We're just going to have to deal with it today."
11:26 a.m. ET: Willing the weather
The tarp is on the field, but players are warming up.
11:15 a.m. ET: Sox skipper talks weather
No one can guarantee the weather, but here's what Red Sox manager John Farrell had to say: "We're starting on time. It's likely we'll be in some dampness for the first probably couple of hours -- some mist, light rain. The forecast says the moderate rain is more 3:30, 4 o'clock. Everyone wants to get this game underway.
"I think if there was a forecast that suggested there would be stoppage earlier in the afternoon, we wouldn't begin this one. There is a potential that the game does get interrupted, that might not be till later on. Like I said, Major League Baseball's efforts, everyone involved, wants to get the game underway and play it."