Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox hits a RBI single in the eighth inning during Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on 10 October 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (AFP)
The Chicago White Sox stayed alive in the Major League Baseball playoffs, roaring back from four runs down to beat the Houston Astros 12-6 in their American League division series on Sunday.
Facing elimination at their home ballpark, the White Sox rallied once, lost the lead and rallied again to cut the deficit in the best-of-five series to 2-1.
The Astros had arrived in Chicago eyeing a sweep after winning the first two games in Houston.
Houston’s Kyle Tucker doubled in two runs in a three-run second inning and smacked a two-run home run in the third as Houston took a 5-1 lead.
But Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer off Houston starter Luis Garcia to trim the deficit to 5-3.
And Leury Garcia hit a three-run home run off Astros reliever Yimi Garcia to put the White Sox up 6-5.
Houston responded, Alex Bregman driving in a run with two out in the fourth inning to knot the score at 6-6.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jose Abreu put Chicago back in front with a run-scoring single that sent Luis Robert to third base.
Houston brought in relief pitcher Zack Greinke, who induced Grandal to ground out.
Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel threw to home plate on the play, but the ball deflected off Grandal’s arm, allowing Robert to score.
Houston argued the play in vain and Abreu, who had advanced to third on the play, scored on a hit from Eloy Jimenez.
“I think we made a statement,” Grandal said after the White Sox padded their lead with three runs in the eighth. “We were down by four, but you’ve got to play the whole game.
“We’ve been doing this all year. We had big comebacks and the fact that we did it there, I feel like we have the momentum back — and that’s all we need.”
Rays on brink
In Boston, Christian Vazquez crushed a walk-off two-run home run over the Green Monster outfield wall to lift the Red Sox to a 6-4, 13-inning win over Tampa Bay that pushed the defending American League champion Rays to the brink of elimination.
The victory gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, making Monday’s game at Fenway Park a must-win for the Rays.
The Red Sox withstood a trademark late challenge from the Rays, who rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to tie the game, then squandered chances in the 10th and 11th innings.
Boston also got a lucky break in the top of the 13th, when it appeared that a hit from Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier had scored Yandi Diaz from first base with a hard-hit ball to the warning track.
But the ball bounced off Boston rightfielder Hunter Renfroe and back over a low rightfield wall, and after the umpires discussed it, Diaz was sent back to third base and Kiermaier to second as the play was ruled a ground-rule double. MLB rules stipulate a ball that deflects off a player and into foul territory is a ground-rule double.
So it was still tied 4-4 when Vazquez came to the plate against Rays relief pitcher Luis Patino in the bottom of the 13th and delivered a towering shot.
“I was just watching all the at-bats before me,” Vazquez said. “He was throwing a lot of fastballs. He’s got a heavy fastball so I was ready for that fastball in the middle — to drive it.”
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