Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with teammate Carlos Correa after beating the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series on Wednesday at Fenway Park in Boston. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Behind a stellar outing from Framber Valdez, the Houston Astros earned a dominant 9-1 win over the Boston Red Sox in Wednesday's Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.
Framber was perfect through four innings, with the left-hander taking a two-hit shutout into the seventh. He became the first pitcher this postseason to complete eight innings, as the Astros took a 3-2 lead in the ALCS.
Yordan Alvarez had three hits and three RBIs for the Astros, who can clinch their second trip to the World Series in three years with a victory at home Friday night.
The Red Sox need a win in that Friday matchup at Minute Maid Park to force a decisive Game 7 on Saturday.
"We came back to Boston exactly where we wanted to be. We were 1-1," said Red Sox starter Chris Sale, who gave up two earned runs and three hits across 5 1/3 innings Wednesday. "Not in a good spot going back to Houston.
"There's no denying that, but this team has won two games in the playoffs back-to-back before, and we think we can do it again."
Alvarez pushed the Astros in front with his solo home run in the second inning. The 2019 AL Rookie of the Year then made it 3-0 with a two-RBI double in the sixth.
Shortly later, the 24-year-old Alvarez came around to score on Yuli Gurriel's RBI double. Jose Siri extended the Astros' lead to 6-0 with a two-run single, capping Houston's five-run sixth inning.
Veteran slugger Michael Brantley plated star second baseman Jose Altuve with an RBI single in the seventh to give the Astros a 7-0 advantage. Rafael Devers responded in the bottom of the inning with the Red Sox's lone run of the game, a solo home run to right field.
Gurriel clinched the Astros' 9-1 victory with a two-RBI single in the top of the ninth.
In all, Valdez allowed just one run on three hits for the Astros, recording five strikeouts and one walk. Ryne Stanek pitched a spotless ninth to secure the win.
"I didn't get frustrated at all. I wasn't down on myself," said Valdez, who gave up two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in Game 1. "What I did was I decided I'm going to work really hard so that when I come out here for the next outing, I'm going to be as 100% ready as I can be, to demonstrate to my team what I'm capable of, to demonstrate to my team that I can come out here and compete with any team in the league.
"So I just worked the entire time and I had my mindset set that I was just going to come out and have a way better outing. And that's what I was able to do tonight."
Nathan Eovaldi, who won Game 2 but lost in Game 4 as a reliever, will start Friday for the Red Sox. Astros manager Dusty Baker hasn't decided on his starter for that contest.