Houston Astros' Michael Brantley scores past Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez on a hit by Yordan Alvarez during the ninth inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Controversial call sets up crucial ALCS Game 5

After a controversial Game 4 win by Houston over the Red Sox, the ALCS moves to Game 5 with the series all tied up 2-2. The winner of Wednesday’s game goes up 3-2 in the series, setting up for an elimination game with Game 6.

The 268th pitch

Game 4 ended in controversy as the Astros tied the series with a 9-2 win. With the game tied, two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the count at 2-2, Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi threw what appeared to be a strike in the upper corner of the strike zone. However, umpire Laz Diaz called it a ball, extending the inning. From there, the Astros rallied to score seven runs and take a 9-2 lead, sealing the win.

https://twitter.com/BRWalkoff/status/1450816806655078402

Arguably the most controversial call of the night, the called-ball in the ninth inning was not the only controversial call by Diaz. According to ESPN insider Jeff Passan, Diaz missed 23 ball-strike calls during Game 4.

The Astros immediately took advantage of the call. After a RBI-single from Jason Castro to take the lead, Michael Brantley hit a three-run double to extend the Astros’ lead to 6-2.

Additionally, the Astros added three more runs behind two RBI singles and a run on a throwing error.

During the win, Houston second baseman José Altuve hit a game-tying home run in the eighth inning, giving him the third-most home runs in MLB postseason history.

Altuve’s 21 career postseason home runs are also the most by an infielder in postseason history. Altuve passed hall of famer Derek Jeter, who hit 20 career postseason home runs.

After the win, Astros’ manager Dusty Baker said that just taking the lead wasn’t enough, but that they wanted to extend it.

On the other side, Red Sox’s manager Alex Cora said that the team will be ready for Game 5 even after the controversial call did not go their way.

Series schedule

Boston hosts Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is at 5:08 p.m. Chris Sale will start for Boston while Framber Valdez will start for Houston.

Game 6 will be an elimination game with the winner of Game 5 up 3-2 in the series. The series moves to Houston for Game 6 on Friday Oct. 22. Additionally, a winner-take-all Game 7 will be played on Saturday Oct. 23 in Houston if necessary.

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