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MLB playoffs: Altuve, Astros stage late rally, tie ALCS vs. Red Sox

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MLB playoffs: Altuve, Astros stage late rally, tie ALCS vs. Red Sox
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hits a solo home run to tie the score 2-2 in the eighth inning in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park in Boston. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve homered to ignite a late, eight-run rally and lead the Houston Astros to a series-tying victory against the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2021 ALCS in Boston.

Altuve's 400-foot, eighth-inning blast tied the score. The Astros took full control with a seven-run ninth in the 9-2 win Tuesday at Fenway Park.

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"You gotta tie it before you can win it," Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters. "That was a huge hit. With this team we are playing, you want to pad the lead.

"Pad the lead we did."

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Seven Astros players reached base at least twice. Astros left fielder Michael Brantley went 2 for 5 with three RBIs. Third baseman Alex Bregman also homered in the win.

The Astros bullpen allowed just four hits and no runs over the final 7 2/3 innings. The Red Sox stranded 19 runners on base. Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

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"I'm very happy that I could score with a homer right there and what we did in the ninth inning was amazing," Altuve told reporters.

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"[Astros pinch hitter] Jason Castro had a really good at-bat [in the ninth]. It's not easy to come off the bench and get two really good at-bats the way he did, and I'm just happy we won today."

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta retired Altuve and Brantley in the first two at-bats of the night. He then missed the strike zone with his first two pitches to Bregman.

The Astros infielder hit Pivetta's 2-0 offering over the Green Monster in right field for a 1-0 lead. The 354-foot solo shot traveled 101 mph off Bregman's bat on its way over the infamous outfield wall.

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Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts answered with a 413-foot, two-run shot over the Green Monster in the fourth at-bat in the bottom of the frame.

Pivetta allowed just one hit over the next three innings. The Red Sox carried the one-run lead into the top of the eighth. Red Sox relief pitcher Garrett Whitlock entered the game in the top of the seventh. He retired three of the first four batters he faced.

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Altuve hit Whitlock's first pitch of the eighth off a sign above the Green Monster to tie the score at 2-2. The homers by Altuve and Bogaerts each traveled 107.9-mph, according to Statcast. They were the hardest hits of the night.

The Red Sox escaped the half inning without allowing another run, but the Astros exploded in the ninth. Shortstop Carlos Correa sparked that outburst with a leadoff double. Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi then issued two strikeouts and an intentional walk.

Pinch hitter Jason Castro hit an RBI single to give the Astros a 3-2 lead in the fifth at-bat of the inning. Eovaldi followed that exchange with a six-pitch walk to Altuve. Brantley hit the next pitch to right field for a three-run double off Red Sox relief pitcher Martin Perez.

Perez walked Bregman in the next exchange. He then allowed three-consecutive RBI singles to designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, Correa and right fielder Kyle Tucker to give the Astros their final, seven-run edge.

Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly struck out pinch hitter Travis Shaw and first baseman Kyle Schwarber in the first two at-bats in the final half inning.

He then allowed back-to-back singles to center fielder Kiké Hernandez and third baseman Rafael Devers. Pressly struck out Bogaerts in the final at-bat of the night to clinch the Game 4 victory.

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Bogaerts was the only Red Sox player with more than one hit. He went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Pivetta allowed two hits and one run over five innings. Astros starter Zack Greinke allowed one hit and two runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Game 5 is at 5:08 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Fenway Park and airs on FS1. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in Game 3 of the NLCS to take a 2-1 lead in the series Tuesday in Los Angeles. Game 4 of the NLCS is at 8:08 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

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