In the ninth inning, the Astros win and score seven runs to shock the Fenway Park crowd. (2:00)
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi walked two steps towards the dugout as his 1-2 curveball against Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro hit the glove of Christian Vazquez, just above the strike zone's top-right corner. Eovaldi thought for a moment that he had left Astros shortstop Carlos Correa at second base, and Yuli Gurriel at first. But Laz Diaz, the plate umpire, never gave the signal to stop the punchout, which would have tied the score at 2 going into the ninth inning.
Castro finally reached center field and scored Correa, giving Houston a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series. Boston gave up seven runs in the final frame of Tuesday's game and the Astros won 9-2. This tied the series at two wins each. It will now be back in Houston.
"I thought it was strike, but again, I am in the moment. After the game, Eovaldi stated that he was trying to make his pitches. "I'm attacking my zone."
Boston disagreed with the call. However, ESPN Stats & Information research found that the likelihood of Eovaldi's curveball being called a hit was only 23%.
An evening filled with complaints about the strike zone was marked by the borderline call. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Diaz had 23 missed baseball-strike calls by the end of the evening. 12 were on balls thrown from Red Sox pitchers, while 11 came from Houston's batters. Diaz's night at the plate was the worst for umpires this postseason.
Castro stated that Eovaldi was looking for a pitch with less velocity and better quality than the one he had. This is where the 1-2 curveball ended.
Castro stated, "Wherever that pitch began, I didn’t believe it was one I could pull on." "It was a pitch, and then I was able move on to the next pitch."
Alex Cora, Red Sox manager, stated that he hadn't seen Diaz's call on video before speaking to the media.
Cora stated, "I'm not going get thrown out this game, but he thought that pitch was on strike, and we disagreed with him, but that's still a difficult job." "I don’t think it changes -- if there’s a strike it changes everything, right? But I believe we had opportunities early on."
Cora stressed the difficulty of Diaz’s job.
"I have known Laz since we were in Miami. When I was at the University of Miami, he used to cover our games. It was a difficult job because he was always the man at those games every Friday. That is something I can understand. Cora stated that it is a difficult job.
Cora took a stronger stance against a strike three on designated hitter J.D. Martinez was hit by a fastball at 94.6 mph from Houston reliever Cristian Javier. It was a 3-2 count, with Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo on first. Martinez, who is known for his tussle with umpires, was ejected by the Red Sox manager and had to be restrained at third base by Carlos Febles.
Boston was 0-9 with runners in scoring positions, leaving 11 basemen.
Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta was unable to answer questions about Diaz's strike area.
Pivetta stated, "I'm going to not say anything."
Eovaldi stated that the strike zone had an effect on the game's outcome.
Eovaldi stated that there would be at-bats when he felt like the batters were being selective. They were having high quality at-bats and a count of 1-0 that becomes a 1-1 or 2 counts, it changes the entire at-bat.