Framber Valdez was on top of his game in game five of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night. No Houston Astros pitcher had gone more than three innings in any of the previous four games in the series. Valdez went eight innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five to shut Boston down. The Astros are now one game away from their third AL Pennant and advancing to the World Series for the third time in five seasons.
Game Five Recap
Valdez, who started game one and lasted two and ⅔ innings, was great in game five. He got into a jam in the fifth inning, however. After Rafael Devers singled to right field and then a hit-by-pitch to J.D. Martinez, Astros manager Dusty Baker visited the mound to talk and calm his right-hander. Whatever was said worked, as Hunter Renfroe grounded into a double play and Alex Verdugo grounded out to first.
Valdez and Red Sox starter Chris Sale were in a pitcher’s duel going into the sixth inning. With the Astros leading 1-0, on the strength of a Yordan Alvarez solo home run in the second, they erupted for five runs in the frame. After Jose Altuve singled and Michael Brantley reached on an error, Alvarez doubled to left to score them both to make it 3-0. A Kyle Tucker infield single would move Alvarez to third and a Yuli Gurriel double would bring him in to make it 4-0. Jose Siri would follow and single to right, scoring Tucker and Gurriel for a 6-0 lead.
Houston would add another run in the seventh on a Brantley single to center, scoring Altuve. Two more runs in the ninth on a Gurriel single would bring Alex Bregman and Correa around to make it 9-1. Alvarez would finish the night three for five with three RBI and finishing a triple short of the cycle. Valdez went eight innings and allowed one run on three hits and five strikeouts. Ryne Stanek would pitch the ninth to finish off the win.
Look Ahead To Game Six
The Astros will now head back to Minute Maid Park just one win away from moving on to the World Series. Game Six will be a pitching rematch of game two. Luis Garcia, who went one-plus inning in game two and left with knee soreness, will oppose Nathan Eovaldi who won game two. Garcia should be good to go with no issues. The Astros bullpen is rested now after throwing 28 ⅓ total innings from game one through game four. If he can go at least five innings, I am sure Dusty will be good with that. The offense has been hot the last two games after scoring nine runs in back-to-back games in Fenway Park. Game six will be Friday at 7 PM from Minute Maid.