Closing Time: Astros snap Red Sox’ four-game win streak in extra innings
|08.15.14 at 10:58 pm ET|
Entering Friday night, the Astros had a career record of 0-8 at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox possessed a bizarre mark of 0-14 on actor Ben Affleck‘s birthday dating back to 1997 – the same year that “Good Will Hunting” was released in theaters.
Something had to give.
In the end, the Astros were able to come away with the win, as Houston right fielder Jake Marisnick drove in two runs on a ground-rule double in the 10th inning to give the Astros a 5-3 victory at Fenway Park. The loss snaps Boston’s brief four-game win streak.
Starter Clay Buchholz put together another encouraging outing, holding Houston to seven hits, two earned runs and two walks over seven innings while striking out nine Astros batters.
‘Clay was outstanding once again,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “He was crisp, he had a very good curveball to put hitters away with, to lead guys off with strikes. A lot of strikes overall. He was very efficient.’
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel got off to a good start against the Red Sox lineup, striking out four and only surrendering an infield single through the first three innings.
Boston was finally able to get on the board in the fourth inning, as Yoenis Cespedes laced a slider from Keuchel into the Green Monster seats for a two-run homer, giving Boston a 2-0 lead.
Houston left fielder Robbie Grossman almost single-handedly helped the Astros get back into the game, collecting an RBI single off Buchholz in the fifth before jumping on a first-pitch cutter from the Sox starter in the seventh and driving it into the right-field seats for a solo home run, knotting the game at two runs apiece.
Boston would quickly regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Holt singled home Christian Vazquez to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, but a bizarre defensive breakdown involving Xander Bogaerts, Vazquez and reliever Burke Badenhop in the eighth allowed the Astros to once again tie the score, 3-3. Vazquez, who was attempting to tag out an advancing Gregorio Petit at home, received a throwing error on the play after botching a throw to Badenhop at home, allowing Petit to cross the plate.
The game would remain tied until the top of the 10th. After Craig Breslow allowed the first three Houston batters to reach base with no outs, the Astros capitalized, as Marisnick lofted a 2-0 fastball from Junichi Tazawa into right field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring two and giving the Astros a lead that they would not renounce.
‘You can’t defend a bloop double on the line,’ Farrell said. ‘Tazawa comes in, we’re trying to stay away from him for the third consecutive day and being forced to use him. ‘¦ Marisnick dumps a double just inside the line for the difference.’
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 55-66 on the year.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Bogaerts did not do much to help Boston’s offense Friday night, putting forth an 0-4 showing while leaving three men on base.
— While Jackie Bradley Jr. looked like he was ready to break out of offensive malaise by collecting hits in back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday, the Boston center fielder took a step backwards Friday, striking out twice en route to an 0-4 showing. Bradley has struck out in 20 of his last 42 at-bats.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– While he may not have earned the win Friday night, Buchholz continued to bolster his impressive track record against the Astros. In three career starts against Houston, Buchholz is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA. Two of Buchholz’s four career double-digit strikeout performances have come against the Astros.
— Holt finished the game 2-for-5, extending his hit streak to nine games in a row. After struggling through a 3-for-35 slump from July 22 – Aug. 1, Holt has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games with a .264 average (14-for-53).
— It appears that Cespedes’ shin is doing just fine. After leaving Thursday’s game in the eighth inning after fouling a pitch off his leg, Cespedes returned to his productive ways Friday, crushing an 0-2 offering from Keuchel into the Green Monster seats in the fourth for his 20th home run of the year – his first career dinger at Fenway Park.
Cespedes - who has now slugged three home runs over his last five games - has driven in 10 runs in 12 games with Boston.
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