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Houston Astros dominate Boston Red Sox in Game 5, take 3-2 ALCS lead

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Houston Astros dominate Boston Red Sox in Game 5, take 3-2 ALCS lead
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.

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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.

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"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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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.

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