With Justin Verlander in Relief, Astros Oust Red Sox in A.L.D.S.
Justin Verlander outpitched Chris Sale in a relief role-reversal for the two aces, and the Houston Astros advanced to their first American League Championship Series, rallying past the Boston Red Sox, 5-4, Monday in Game 4 of their division series.
Houston will open the A.L.C.S. on Friday, either at Cleveland or at home against the Yankees. The Indians held a 2-1 edge going into Game 4 of the A.L. division series on Monday night.
With Verlander and Sale — the Game 1 starters — both pressed into relief, the Astros prevailed to win the A.L.D.S. by three games to one.
Alex Bregman homered off Sale to tie it in the eighth, and Josh Reddick hit a run-scoring single off closer Craig Kimbrel later in the inning.
The Astros last reached the league championship series in 2005 as a National League team, and were swept in the World Series by the White Sox.
Carlos Beltran added to his legacy of postseason success with an R.B.I. double in the ninth to give Houston a 5-3 lead. The Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers opened the bottom of the ninth with an inside-the-park homer off Ken Giles, the ball hitting the wall above center fielder George Springer’s leap.
Giles retired the next three batters for a six-out save.
Springer and Yuli Gurriel each had three hits for the Astros, the A.L. West champions, and Reddick’s single made up for his misplaying a fly ball into a home run in Game 3.
Verlander allowed just one hit: a two-run homer to Andrew Benintendi — the first batter he faced — that gave Boston a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Verlander wound up with the win in his first pro relief appearance after making 424 starts in the majors and minors.