Bregman Blasts Home Run, Houston Advances

Glove-Aided Dinger Helps Red Sox Stave Off Elimination

Red Sox season ends with blown lead, 5-4 loss to Astros

Houston will make its first appearance in a Championship Series since beating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in 2005 when the Astros played in the National League.

The ALCS is scheduled to begin Friday, and the entire series will be broadcast on FOX.

If you want to look a little bit deeper, John Farrell managed the team to two straight quick exits, with the first one being way more surprising than this one.

Farrell left the dugout to argue a down-and-outside curve ball that was called for a third strike with the bases loaded and one out. Then the never-say-die Royals ripping out the Astros' heart - seven runs in the final two innings; hits that kept coming and outs that never appeared - and a magical year evaporating into embarrassment and pain. Houston tied the game in the 8th inning after a solo home run by Alex Bregman, and reclaimed the lead on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick later on in the inning.

Following Francona even a year after he left - Bobby Valentine was in between the two - could not have been easy, but Farrell did fine. It's not easy finding the right guy, especially for a tough town like Boston.

The Houston Astros clinched their first trip to the American League Championship Series with a 5-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of their AL Division Series on a rainy Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.

The 20-year-old became the youngest Red Sox player ever to homer in a playoff game and just the sixth player in major league history to do so in the postseason before turning 21.

Awkward? You bet. But it also underscored the matter-of-factness with which ownership and the front office regarded Farrell's standing within the organization. "We want to win for them, we want to win for us, because we showed up in Spring Training to try to win the World Series". "We worked hard. came down to the wire, it was a close game. this one definitely sucks". Besides Hanley Ramirez, they were the only ones who could step up and deliver crucial hits for the team at the end of the ALDS.

Oh, and don't book the Duck Boats for any school tours in October 2027. This is what we are here for.

No team is ever quite deep enough in pitching (even the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz Braves had bullpen issues), but the Red Sox are as deep as they have been in years.

There will be calls for the Red Sox to trade the second baseman this offseason, but the unfortunate reality is they probably need to ride out his contract.

The lineup is almost certain to be improved next year, even without the acquisition of someone such as Hosmer (who would fit perfectly) or J.D. Martinez.

Michael Brantley replaced Encarnacion at designated hitter again and went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts as the Indians committed a season-high four errors and lost 7-3, tying the series at two games apiece.

Xander Bogaerts knotted things back up quickly in the bottom of the first when he took Charlie Morton out to straightaway center field.

Houston closer Ken Giles though was able to retire the next three batters, finishing off Boston's season by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out.

Chris Sale's first season as a member of the Red Sox didn't end the way he would have liked - taking two of the three losses of the ALDS against the Astros - but he knows the team has a bright future. The ball ricocheted off the wall and toward the right-field corner, and Devers sprinted around the bases for an inside-the-park home run to cut the deficit to one run, at 5-4. We dealt with a lot and our fight continued every single day. He gave up two singles in the seventh, but still came out for the eighth.

Boston squandered chances in the second and third inning. We know we can do this and keep it rolling.

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