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Closing Time: Jake Peavy’s solid outing spoiled in Red Sox’ loss to Astros

07.12.14 at 7:16 pm ET
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Jake Peavy turned in his third straight stellar outing, Saturday afternoon. (AP)

Jake Peavy turned in his third straight stellar outing, Saturday afternoon. (AP)

One batter too long. One inch too far.

The result: an Astros’ 3-2 win and the end of the Red Sox‘ win streak.

After turning in one of his best outings of the season, Jake Peavy was left in to face one extra batter to start the eighth inning. But Jose Altuve made the decision backfire for Red Sox managerJohn Farrell, turning on Peavy’s 103rd pitch (the first of the frame) for a leadoff double.

Andrew Miller immediately came on to do his job, inducing a ground out to second before intentionally walking George Springer and striking out Jon Singleton for the inning’s second out. But the Red Sox weren’t quite able to escape, with Chris Carter‘s grounder up the middle bringing shortstop Brock Holt just deep enough in the hole that Springer beat out Holt’s flip to Pedroia, allowing Altuve to score.

The play at second was almost ended the inning for the Sox, but replays showed Dustin Pedroia‘s attempt at grabbing Holt’s flip with his bare-hand didn’t play off as the second baseman’s toe had to be drawn just off the bag.

The Red Sox did threaten in the ninth inning, putting Mookie Betts at second base and Holt at first base with one out. But Pedroia grounded a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to end things.

Peavy did take another loss (dropping to 1-8), but there was no question about the impression he left (both on the Red Sox and scouts in attendance). The starter allowed  just three runs on six hits over seven-plus innings while striking out nine and walking just one.

In his last three starts, Peavy has allowed six runs over 19 innings, lowering his ERA to 4.59.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 52nd loss of the season:

WHAT WENT WRONG

- David Ortiz squandered a golden opportunity for the Red Sox, grounding into an inning-ending double play with one out and the bases loaded. It kept the Sox’ deficit at a run.

- Peavy’s only major miscue came in the third inning when he allowed Jason Castro’s fly ball to just clear the right fence with two outs. The blast, which was just out of the reach of right fielder Mookie Betts, resulted in a two-run homer for Houston’s early lead. It was the 19th homer allowed by the righty, the second-most in the American League.

- The Red Sox had a difficult time solving Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer, who was making his first major league start of the season. The Sox managed just two runs off the lefty despite touching him up for 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

- The only Red Sox starter not to notch at least one hit was Jonny Gomes, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Ortiz answered Castro’s two-run homer in the third right away in the home half of the fourth, turning on Oberholtzer’s first pitch of the inning for the designated hitter’s 20th homer of the season.

- Pedroia tied the game with a one-out sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, plating Jackie Bradley. The fly ball was the culmination of a nine-pitch at-bat for Pedroia, who came into the game hitting .342 the third time through the lineup (which is what the run-scoring at-bat was).

- Mookie Betts stole his first career base, swiping second with one out in the seventh inning with Dustin Pedroia at the plate and Bradley standing at third. It was his second attempt since being promoted. In the minors, Betts went 29-for-34 this season.

- Holt continued to make the most of his homecoming, notching three more hits, having gone 5-for-8 in the series.

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