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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Framber Valdez (#59) of the Houston Astros walks off the mound after the seventh inning of Game Five of their American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 20, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo : Elsa/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves moved to within a victory of reaching the 2021 World Series after they recorded emphatic wins over the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the League Championship Series on Wednesday night.
Valdez leads Astros to pivotal Game 5 win
The Astros grabbed a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series after beating the Red Sox, 9-1, in Game 5 at Fenway Park. Framber Valdez starred for the Astros in the pivotal win, allowing just one run on three hits and one walk in eight innings of action with five strikeouts.
Valdez made history with that incredible outing, becoming just the second visiting starting pitcher to go at least eight innings and surrender less than four hits in a postseason game at Fenway Park. In that exclusive list, Valdez joined the great Bob Gibson, who accomplished that feat in the deciding Game 7 of the 1967 World Series.
The game’s turning point came in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Houston protecting a slim 1-0 lead. The Red Sox were threatening to score at this juncture, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Valdez managed to escape the inning without any damage, inducing a double-play ball from Boston right fielder Hunter Renfroe and a groundout from Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo.
That boosted the morale of the Astros, who went on to score five runs in the top of the sixth inning. It has been a remarkable turnaround by the Astros, who had allowed 21 runs in Games 2 and 3. The roles have now reversed, with Boston struggling offensively and Houston the ones piling on the runs. The Astros had outscored the Red Sox, 18-3, in Games 4 and 5 to regain control of the series.
Rosario homers twice to give Atlanta a 3-1 series lead
The Atlanta Braves moved ever closer to clinching their first National League pennant since 1999 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-2, in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Eddie Rosario starred for the Braves, who now hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLCS.
Rosario was sizzling at the plate, recording four hits in a game for the second time in the NLCS. Rosario went yard twice in Game 4 as he tied a Braves playoff record with 12 total bases. He fell a double short of the cycle, with Rosario also nabbing a single and a triple with his two other hits.
Rosario made sure there will be no miracle comeback for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4, hitting a three-run blast in the top of the ninth inning to seal the win for Atlanta. It was a huge victory for the Braves, who ended their 10-game losing skid at the Dodger Stadium.
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