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By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Through four batters in Game 3 of the ALCS, Houston starter Jose Urquidy was cruising.
The right-hander was called upon to give the Astros some much-needed length as the starter, after Game 2 starter Luis Garcia recorded just three outs on Saturday. Urquidy delivered early, easily retiring the Red Sox in order in the first inning, before getting a gifted called strike three on Xander Bogaerts to begin the second inning.
When Alex Verdugo stepped in and immediately fell behind 0-2 on two quick called strikes, it looked as though the run would continue.
But then Verdugo began battling. And things changed.
In a big way.
Verdugo took a ball low and away before fouling off two straight pitches — one was a strike, the other was borderline. He took ball three on a pitch way out of the zone, before fouling off four consecutive pitches. He then watched as the 11th pitch of the at-bat crept inside on him for ball four.
With that, Verdugo took his base as the Red Sox’ first base runner of the evening.
From there, the Red Sox did this before recording another out:
–J.D. Martinez double
–Hunter Renfroe walk
–Christian Vazquez RBI single
–Christian Arroyo fielder’s choice (error by Jose Altuve; run scores)
–Kyle Schwarber grand slam
–Kiké Hernandez single
Rafael Devers finally broke the streak of good hitting (and good fortune) with a flyout, but Bogaerts followed that up with a line-drive single to center field.
That hit was the fifth one allowed by Urquidy, and it prompted Houston manager Dusty Baker to make a change on the mound. The Astros wanted a long start out of Urquidy; instead, they got 1.2 innings.
Fittingly, it was Verdugo who came to bat to face the new pitcher, Yimi Garcia. Verdugo flew out to center field, making him 0-for-1 in the six-run inning for Boston. But it was his work — fouling off five pitches and taking four balls — that jump-started it all.
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