The Houston Astros had been held scoreless for four innings by Chris Sale as the Boston Red Sox pulled ahead, 3-2, in Game 4 of the American League Divisional Series at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon. Sale, one of the top left-handed pitchers in the game, took the mound in the eighth inning to try to keep his Red Sox in front.
Alex Bregman, a six-foot, 180-pound third baseman from Albuquerque, stepped into the batter’s box, armed with an aura of confidence. Bregman, the second overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft out of LSU, had taken Sale deep back in Game 1 in his first ever postseason at-bat.
Bregman fouled off the first pitch, then laid off two tough pitches. On the 2-1 pitch, Sale threw a changeup that hung tantalizingly in the middle of the strike zone. Bregman cranked it deep to left, over the fabled Green Monster, tying the game.
Bregman rounded the bases triumphantly, high-fived and hugged his way through his teammates in the dugout, then located the television camera and roared.
“When we were back home (Sale) struck me out on a changeup,” Bregman said after the game. “I was looking for it the whole day. I got it again and I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.”
“He is light-years ahead of a regular 23-year-old,” Houston catcher Brian McCann said. “He shows up every day, and you know what you’re getting out of Alex Bregman. He loves the game of baseball probably more than anybody I’ve ever been around. He owns the moment.”
Houston would add two more runs and hold on, 5-4, for the series-clinching win in front of over 37,000 fans.
The Astros will play the winner of the Yankees-Indians series in the American League Championship Series beginning on October 13.