Altuve goes deep — 11:00 p.m.
What did I tell you? Tanner Houck had a runner on with two outs in the sixth when Jose Altuve crushed a first-pitch slider to left field for a game-tying homer. You can’t leave the door open for a team like the Astros. The sellout crowd of 40,534 is roaring. It’s 3-3 as we head for the seventh inning.
Missed opportunity for Sox — 10:50 p.m.
The Sox left Alex Verdugo at third base in the sixth inning. He drew a walk off Phil Maton, Houston’s fourth pitcher, and was bunted to second by Christian Arroyo. But Christian Vázquez grounded out and Kiké Hernández struck out. That’s six runners stranded in scoring position. That’ll come back to bite you.
A snail’s pace — 10:40 p.m.
Indeed, it’s the matchup game. Josh Taylor got two outs and Ryan Brasier came in for the righthanded hitting Carlos Correa. He singled but Brasier was able to retire lefthanded hitting Kyle Tucker on a fly ball to center. Still 3-1 Sox through 5 innings. This game is crawling.
A game of matchups — 10:21 p.m.
Alex Cora is playing the bullpen matchup game. Adam Ottavino retired four righthanded hitters. Now Josh Taylor gets the fifth inning with two lefty hitters due up. He held lefties to a miniscule .381 OPS this season. The crowd is getting louder, trying to push the Astros back into the game.
Sox could have more — 10:09 p.m.
The Sox lead 3-1. Hey, good for them. But it could be a lot more. They’re 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position through four innings and have left six runners on base. Kiké Hernández doubled with two outs in the fourth before Christian Javier struck out Kyle Schwarber and Xander Bogaerts.
Hernández is 13 of 26 in the postseason. That’s a Red Sox record for six games. David Ortiz had 12 in the first six games in 2004.
Sale’s night is over — 9:52 p.m.
Chris Sale is done for the night. His line: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. 61 pitches/37 strikes.
Was he good? No. Was he better than he was in his last three starts going back to the regular season? Yes. He left with a 3-1 lead, which is what the Sox cared about. Alex Cora’s gamble wasn’t a resounding success but it did the job.
Boy, if the Sox can steal this game with Nate Eovaldi going tomorrow afternoon …
Who would’ve thought? — 9:36 p.m.
The first starter pulled in this game is … Framber Valdez? Yep, he allowed three runs in the third inning. After Kiké Hernández’s homer, Xander Bogaerts walked and Rafael Devers singled. J.D. Martinez grounded a ball over the mound that should have been a double play but Jose Altuve booted it. That allowed a run to score before Hunter Renfroe doubled for his first RBI of this postseason. The Sox had a chance for more but Valdez struck out Alex Verdugo and righthanded reliever Yimi Garcia struck out Christian Arroyo.
It’s 3-1 Sox.
Red Sox in front — 9:16 p.m.
Houston’s Jose Altuve misplayed a grounder and the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, then made it 3-1 when Hunter Renfroe doubled down the third base line.
Righthander Yimi García has replaced Framber Valdez on the mound for Houston.
Hernández ties it up — 9:10 p.m.
Chris Sale is through two…