Facing Justin Verlander in an elimination game isn’t easy, but the Boston Red Sox found a way to topple the Houston Astros ace in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
J.D. Martinez set the tone is Boston’s 4-1 victory, which punched their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 2013. In the process, he snapped a remarkable scoreless streak that defined just how good Verlander usually is in a must-win game.
With two outs in the third inning, Martinez smoked a solo home run off the Astros ace to give Boston a 1-0 lead against the Houston Astros. That one run is the first Verlander has given up in 26 innings pitched in games with his team facing elimination.
Verlander’s scoreless streak dated back to Game 5 of the American League Division Series in 2012. The then Tigers ace pitched a complete game shutout against the Oakland Athletics, allowing four hits and striking out 11.
In 2013, Verlander pitched eight scoreless innings when the Tigers and A’s met again in ALDS Game 5. Last year, he kept the Astros alive with seven scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in ALCS Game 6. He started Thursday’s outing with two scoreless frames.
Astros fans greeted the umpires with boos in Game 5 because of the controversial decision that turned a potential Jose Altuve home run into an out in Game 4. They may have been given another reason to be frustrated with the umpires in this scenario too.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan explains.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 19, 2018
A should-be strikeout to a home run is quite the gut punch for Houston.
Credit Martinez though for taking advantage of his second chance. The home run is Martinez’s second of the postseason. He went deep in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.
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