Mitch's Sports: The Catch, The Hit, The Call. Red Sox On Cusp Of World Series After Wild Game Four
Jackie Bradley Jr. played home run hero again, but the Boston Red Sox didn't secure their third win of the American League Championship series against the Houston Astros until left fielder Andrew Benintendi made a daring, diving catch of a low line drive for the final out of the game in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded.
This was one of those emotional see saw games that will have tongues wagging right up until the start of game five tonight in part due to the call of umpire Joe West that negated a potential game tying home run by Jose Altuve in the second inning after the Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead on a single by Rafael Devers.
Altuve sent a rocket line drive shot off Rick Porcello towards the right field wall and Mookie Betts leaped as high as he could and had the ball lined up for a sensational catch, but a fan in the stands went for the ball as well, clearly pushing Mookie's glove closed, causing it to clank off the mitt.
West delayed and then called fan interference, and the only question on video review was whether Mookie was reaching into the stands when he went for the ball, which would mean it's up for grabs for him or the fan, or if the spectator reached over the wall and hit Mookie's glove before he had a chance to secure the ball. The video team's job was to determine if there was inconvertible evidence to overturn the interference call and there was not, so Altuve was out and the Sox maintained their lead.
But that was early in the game and back and forth they went, the Red Sox trailing 5-4 in the top of the 6th when Jackie Bradley Jr. blasted a home run for the second night in a row, a drive deep to right off Astros reliever Josh James, who throws 100 miles an hour the way you or I settle onto a couch. That blast gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, and they would tack on some insurance with a JD Martinez single in the 8th to make it 8-5 before the Astros got one back in the bottom of the 8th off closer Craig Kimbrel, who was tasked with making a 6-out save to get the win.
In the top of the 9th the Red Sox loaded the bases with two out when Betts smacked a line drive to the gap that was caught on a sensational backhanded diving catch by Josh Reddick. But in the bottom of the 9th, Benintendi would make an similar catch to save the game with the bases also loaded and two outs. If Benintendi dives and missed that ball, it goes to the wall and probably clears the bases for a Houston win, but the ball fell into his glove just inches from the turf, and the Red Sox secured an 8-6 win that has them on the brink of their first world series appearance since 2013.
David Price will get the ball tonight to try and make that a reality, pitching on just three days rest, because ace Chris Sale has been deemed to ill following a stomach ailment to make the start. Justin Verlander takes the hill for Houston to try and keep their season alive. More drama yet to come.
The L.A. Dodgers are also on the cusp of the World Series after a 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, and their ace Clayton Kershaw rebounded beautifully from his shortest post season start in his previous outing, going seven innings while giving up just three hits and a run and striking out nine to scuttle the narrative that he chokes in the playoffs. Max Muncy had the go-ahead single in the sixth to put the Dodgers up three games to two heading back to Milwaukee for game six.
NHL, Michael Frolik scored twice to lead the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins in western Canada, and the Montreal Canadiens got a pair of goals from Brendan Gallagher, including the game winner with just 11 seconds left to deliver the Habs a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.