Red Sox extend losing skid in 5-4 heartbreaker
This road trip has hardly gone well for the Red Sox as, entering tonight’s game, they had lost six consecutive games to begin the second half. In the series finale against the Astros, the Red Sox sent Wade Miley to the hill against rookie sensation Lance McCullers and it didn’t appear that a turnaround was likely for the Red Sox.
Neither pitcher was on top of their game to start things off, with the Red Sox initially taking advantage of some early-game jitters from McCullers. Mookie Betts doubled to left to start the game and he came around to score on another double to left by David Ortiz, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. However, that lead wouldn’t last long as the Astros got to Miley in the bottom of the first, with Marwin Gonzalez crushing a solo blast to left field to tie things up.
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The Red Sox mounted another rally just an inning later, creating some activity with two outs in the second when Mike Napoli took a hanging slider deep to left field for a solo shot. That would give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead and a single and a walk would give the Red Sox two more baserunners. Brock Holt delivered with a single to left field but Ryan Hanigan, who plodded around third base in search of another run, was cut down at the plate on a perfect throw by left fielder Preston Tucker, ending a promising inning.
From that point forward, each starting pitcher settled down for the most part. Both Miley (5 walks) and McCullers (3 walks) had some command troubles throughout the game, but neither would allow a run for the remainder of their starts.
Those waiting for more runs would have to wait until the seventh inning, when Alexi Ogando replaced Miley on the hill. Ogando induced a groundout to start the inning, but the next batter, pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus, tagged him for a home run to tie the game at 2-2. Rasmus’s homer was followed by a single by Jose Altuve and then a long line drive to center field by Gonzalez. Altuve easily scored on the play, giving the Astros their first lead of the game, but Gonzalez was thrown out attempting a triple. Still, the Astros were able to put another rally together, with Carlos Correa doubling and proceeding to score on a single by Evan Gattis.
The Red Sox would get one of those runs back in the top of the eighth when Ortiz took a fastball by Will Harris deep to right for a solo home run to lead off the inning. The rally continued when Hanley Ramirez singled to right and, in a bold move, swiped second base still with no outs. Two outs later and Ramirez was yet to score until Napoli lifted a line drive towards Tucker in left field. However, Tucker curiously misplayed the ball as it flew over his head for a game-tying double. But although Napoli advanced to third base on a wild pitch, he was unable to score and the Astros escaped the inning with a tied score.
But of course, the good times wouldn’t last long for the Red Sox. Craig Breslow‘s presence hasn’t inspired much confidence for the past two years and the Red Sox were flirting with disaster by sending him to the mound for a second inning of work. Their luck caught up to them when Altuve lined a walk-off home run into the seats to send Astros fans happy with a sweep.
- Mookie Betts broke out of a 1-20 slump with a strong game, going 2-4 with a double and a walk.
- Hanley Ramirez, formerly an elite base stealer, stole just his fourth base of the season. Though his fall from grace hasn’t been quite as dramatic as Pablo Sandoval‘s, he has also been a major disappointment in his first season in Boston.
The results were fine from Miley as he allowed just a run in six innings of work. However, it’s clear he got a bit lucky to come away so successfully as he allowed four hits and five walks while striking out just four batters. Still, Miley does turn in a solid start and has lowered his ERA to 4.33 on the season.
Breslow got through his first inning of work perfectly fine, but it all came crashing down on him as he allowed Altuve’s walk-off blast.
Napoli has had an awfully trying season but he had a great game tonight against the Astros, going 3-4 with a homer and a pair of doubles. Perhaps if Napoli can go on a hot streak in the next few days, he could earn enough trade value to net some modest return.