The Boston Red Sox scored four runs in the sixth inning to take the lead for good and held on to defeat the Astros 6-5 Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros pounded out 14 hits in the loss, but left 13 men on base in the 4:08 minute contest.
“They took advantage of almost all of their opportunities and we struggled in a couple of those,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “But you look up and down the order we had a tremendous amount of good at bats, maybe not at the right time when we needed it the most.”
Houston finished a nine-game home stand with a 3-6 record, losing all three series to the Angels, Rangers and Red Sox. The Astros had lost just three series all season before dropping the three consecutive sets.
Xander Bogaerts started the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run off Houston starter Joe Musgrove. The Astros would tie in the bottom of the frame when Brian McCann singled home Jose Altuve.
Carlos Correa briefly put the Astros up 2-1 with a fifth-inning home run, his 13th of the season.
However Boston would chase Musgrove in the sixth. Bogaerts second home run of the game, put the Sox in front 3-2. Jackie Bradley Jr. would later add a two-run double off reliever James Hoyt to cap the frame.
The Astros answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back home runs from Jake Marisnick and George Springer (19th) to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Trailing by two runs heading into the bottom of the 8th, the Astros put together another rally. Three walks loaded the bases with one out when Carlos Beltran blooped a single to left field scoring Springer. However Andrew Benintendi threw a strike to catcher Christian Vazquez who applied the tag on the back of Altuve before he could touch the plate with the tying run.
The game ended in the bottom of the ninth when Derek Fisher was thrown out at second base on a steal attempt, with George Springer, representing the winning run, in the batter’s box.
Craig Kimbrel earned his 20th save for the Red Sox. Musgrove (4-6) suffered the loss for the Astros.
The Astros (46-24) will travel through the night Sunday to begin a four-game series and seven-game road trip in Oakland Monday. Brad Peacock (3-1 3.00) will start in the series opener against the Athletics.
“We have to find a way to win these close games,” Hinch added. “Oakland is playing very well, they just swept the Yankees. Seattle is going to be ready for us by the time we get up there. So in division is always a big deal. You certainly want to play your best. We have played very well on the road.”
Before the game Hinch announced that Dallas Keuchel will play catch Monday, a first since going on the disabled list with neck discomfort. Lance McCullers Jr. will throw a bullpen session Monday or Tuesday, keeping open the possibility of him starting a game in Seattle. Charlie Morton will also throw a bullpen session Monday while Collin McHugh will head to Florida to begin building up his arm strength towards some rehab starts.
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