Boston, MA - In the past weekend's series that saw the Boston Red Sox square off against the Houston Astros, Fenway Park had the feeling of October baseball inside of it. Obviously, it's still September, but in a series that could be a potential playoff matchup, it felt like the post-season in terms of how closely the teams played each other.
The Astros took the first two, but the Red Sox played a game full of grit in the final outing to avoid a sweep by the reigning World Series champions. Advancing to ninety-eight wins, the Red Sox also moved to eight and a half games above the Yankees with their magic number at eleven to clinch the division. So yes, it was a great night for Boston.
The two teams traded runs early with a Xander Bogaerts single, a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly, and a Marwin Gonzalez home run off of Rick Porcello for Houston bringing the score to 2-1. It seemed like Porcello would walk to a victory after Martinez hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, good for his fortieth long ball of the year, but Houston rallied back to tie the game off of two doubles and a home run. They almost took the lead, too, when a controversial ruling at home plate resulted in Sandy Leon tagging out Jose Altuve, even though that might not necessarily have been the case.
Regardless, Boston took advantage of the good fortune as they moved to the ninth inning where Craig Kimbrel was lights out to put Houston away. The game was finally won when Mitch Moreland stepped out to bat and looped a single to left field to score Tzu-Wei Lin and Boston walked off with the victory, 6-5.
It was a great victory for Boston that will hopefully inspire the team to show that they can hang with the heavyweights when the post-season rolls around, despite faltering in the past two seasons. The bullpen has to get better, but right now, the offense is humming. And that's a crucial piece of the puzzle, too.