Final, Red Sox 11-0: And that’ll do it.
Clay Buchholz retired the final 15 batters he faced in a dominant three-hit shutout — easily his best pitching performance of the season. Buchholz finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts and did not walk a batter as the Red Sox coasted to victory.
Brock Holt went 5-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored to pace Boston’s offense, which set a season high for runs in a game.
The Sox now are off until Friday, when they host the Kansas City Royals.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 11-0: Another three runs? Sure, why not.
After Stephen Drew opened the ninth inning with a popout, Christian Vazquez ripped a ground-rule double down the right field line. Brock Holt followed by reaching on an infield single, and Mike Carp brought both of them home by tripling into center field.
Carp then came home on an RBI groundout by David Ortiz before Mookie Betts flied out to end the inning.
End 8th, Red Sox 8-0: The Red Sox made a few defensive changes here in the sixth, with Mookie Betts entering the game in right field, Mike Carp coming in to play first and Brock Holt shifting to second.
The man on the mound did not change, though, and he continued to have his way with the Astros’ order.
Clay Buchholz recorded two more strikeouts and retired the Astros in order for a fourth straight time.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 8-0: The Red Sox get a leadoff single from Daniel Nava but nothing more in the eighth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. followed Nava’s base hit by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, and Xander Bogaerts flied out to the warning track in left.
End 7th, Red Sox 8-0: Clay Buchholz has struck out six of the last nine batters he’s faced.
After getting Chris Carter to fly out to lead off the seventh, Buchholz caught both Jon Singleton and Matt Dominguez looking to close out his third consecutive 1-2-3 frame.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 8-0: Poor fielding is killing the Astros.
After Jackie Bradley Jr. lined out to lead off the inning, Xander Bogaerts reached when Marwin Gonzalez’s throw bounced well short of first base. Bogaerts then scampered to third on a Stephen Drew single and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Christian Vazquez.
Gonzalez’s mishap was Houston’s third error, all three of which have led to runs.
Brock Holt then singled to chase Josh Zeid from the game, with the Astros bringing right-hander Jose Veras in from the ‘pen. Veras did not fare well, walking both Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to bring home Boston’s eighth run of the game.
Veras buckled down after the two free passes, striking out Mike Napoli swinging to leave the bases loaded.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-0: Clay Buchholz is on cruise control.
Buchholz worked his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the game, getting Jose Altuve to pop up behind the plate before mowing down Jason Castro and George Springer. The righty’s eight punchouts today are a season high.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-0: Josh Zeid retires the side, and for just the second time today, the Red Sox do not score in an inning.
Dustin Pedroia flied out to center, David Ortiz struck out swinging and Mike Napoli walked before Daniel Nava grounded back to Zeid to end the frame.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-0: Clay Buchholz tosses another 1-2-3 inning, adding two more strikeouts in the process.
Robbie Grossman and Marwin Gonzalez both went down by way of the K, bringing Buchholz’s total to six punchouts on the day, and Enrique Hernandez flied out to right.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-0: The Red Sox’s lead is up to a half dozen.
Darin Downs loaded the bases with no outs by walking Mike Napoli and Jackie Bradley Jr. and giving up a base hit to Daniel Nava. The lefty was able to climb partway out of that jam when Xander Bogaerts grounded into Boston’s fourth double play in five innings, but after issuing another free pass — this one to Stephen Drew — he was replaced on the mound by Josh Zeid.
The Sox didn’t wait long to get after Zeid, as Christian Vazquez singled up the middle off the right-hander to score Nava and Bradley.
Brock Holt struck out to end the inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: The Astros had their first bona fide scoring chance here in the fourth.
Jason Castro and Chris Carter sandwiched singles around a George Springer strikeout to put men on first and second with one out. Jon Singleton couldn’t advance the runners — he flied out to left — but both were able to move up when a wild pitch by Buchholz got past catcher Christian Vazquez and rolled to the backstop.
That’s as far as they would get, however. Matt Dominguez grounded out to end the inning and keep Buchholz’s shutout intact.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Darin Downs wraps up the inning by getting David Ortiz to fly out to center.
Top 4th, Red Sox 4-0: The Astros bring in their third pitcher of the ballgame, as Darin Downs comes on with two outs in the fourth.
Anthony Bass faced the first three batters of the inning, retiring Christian Vazquez and Dustin Pedroia and allowing a single to Brock Holt. It was the leadoff man’s third hit of the day.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: The Astros got their first hit but nothing more in the third against Clay Buchholz.
Robbie Grossman singled to lead off the inning, but Buchholz responded retiring the next three batters in order via strikeout, flyout and groundout.
Brock Holt (who else?) nearly doubled up Grossman at first base after catching Marwin Gonzalez’s fly ball, but his throw to Mike Napoli arrived just a hair too late.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Scoring runs has not been a problem today for the Red Sox.
Boston stretched its lead to 4-0 in the fourth. The first three batters of the inning reached base — Mike Napoli and Jackie Bradley Jr. on singles and Daniel Nava on an error by first baseman Jon Singleton. Napoli scored on Bradley’s base hit, and Nava came home on a sacrifice fly by Xander Bogaerts.
Anthony Bass yet again benefited from a double play, though, with Stephen Drew lining into a twin killing to end the frame.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Clay Buchholz, who sets the Astros down in order for the second time in as many frames.
Brock Holt, who homered to lead off the game, also made the best defensive play thus far, sliding in right field to rob Jon Singleton of a one-out single.
Chris Carter lined out to Stephen Drew to open the inning, and Matt Dominguez struck out looking to end it.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Anthony Bass isn’t faring much better than his predecessor. The right-hander struggled to locate his pitches as the Red Sox added to their lead in the second.
Xander Bogaerts, who has decided against wearing batting gloves this afternoon, led off the inning with a walk. Bogaerts then took second base on a passed ball and trotted to third on a bloop single by Stephen Drew.
Another double play, this one off the bat of Christian Vazquez, wiped Drew off the basepaths, but it was enough to drive in Bogaerts with the Red Sox’s second run.
Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia then reached on consecutive singles — the second hit of the game for both players — but David Ortiz flied out to end the inning.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Clay Buchholz has no trouble getting through the first inning, retiring the side in order on seven pitches.
Jose Altuve struck out looking, Jason Castro grounded to second and George Springer grounded to short.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Well, that’s not a bad way to start.
Leadoff man Brock Holt deposited Brad Peacock’s sixth pitch into the right field seats to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead before most fans had even found their seats.
The Sox actually put their first three batters of the game on base, as Dustin Pedroia singled to left and David Ortiz walked before Mike Napoli went down swinging for the inning’s first out.
Peacock then hit Daniel Nava with a pitch to load the bases, and Astros manager Bo Porter had seen enough. Right-hander Anthony Bass came out of the bullpen to face Jackie Bradley Jr. and quickly escaped the jam, getting the center fielder to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and George Springer will be the first to bat against Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the first.
2:10 p.m.: Brad Peacock’s first pitch to Brock Holt is in for a strike, and we are underway from the Lone Star State.
Holt, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are due up first for the Red Sox.
1:10 p.m.: The first half of the 2014 season hasn’t exactly gone as planned for the Boston Red Sox.
One year removed from a World Series title, the Sox enter Sunday’s game tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for last place in the American League East with a 42-52 record.
Not all is lost in Boston, however, as an infusion of promising young players like outfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Christian Vazquez have helped the Sox win three of their last four contests.
Sunday marks the final game before the All-Star break, the MLB’s unofficial halfway point of the season, and Clay Buchholz will take the mound for Boston hoping to enter the break on a high note.
Check out the full lineups for both teams below, and keep it here for live updates throughout today’s game.
Boston Red Sox (42-52)
Brock Holt, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Christian Vazquez, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (3-5, 6.11 ERA)
Houston Astros (40-55)
Jose Altuve, 2B
Jason Castro, C
George Springer, CF
Chris Carter, DH
Jon Singleton, 1B
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Robbie Grossman, RF
Enrique Hernandez, LF
Marwin Gonzalez, SS
Brad Peacock, RHP (3-5, 4.30 ERA)