Final, 9-4: That’s it, and that’s all.
Craig Breslow recorded the final three outs, and the Red Sox take the opener of this four-game series thanks to a sixth-inning offensive explosion. Boston scored seven of its nine runs in that sixth inning, which more than covered for a somewhat shaky start by Allen Webster.
These teams will be back at it Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
End 8th, 9-4: The Red Sox add an insurance run and take a 9-4 lead into the ninth.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt led off the eighth with three straight singles. Holt’s scored Bradley for Boston’s ninth run.
A flyout and two popouts ended the inning for the Astros.
Mid 8th, 8-4: After a scoreless inning by Junichi Tazawa, the Astros are down to their final three outs.
Chris Carter grounded out to second, and Dexter Fowler worked a seven-pitch walk. Fowler was nearly picked off first base by Christian Vazquez, but he was able to evade the tag of Mike Napoli thanks to some nifty hand maneuvers.
Fowler’s positioning on the base paths proved inconsequential, though, as Tazawa mowed down Jason Castro and Jon Singleton to end the inning.
The Red Sox will look to add to their cushion in the home half of the eighth with Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez and the top of the order due up against Mike Foltynewicz.
End 7th, 8-4: The Red Sox get a two-out double from Daniel Nava but can’t push him across.
Yoenis Cespedes grounded out to start the inning, and Mike Napoli followed by looking at strike three from Mike Foltynewicz.
After Nava doubled — his second two-bagger of the game — Jake Marisnick made a nice, diving grab in right field to rob Will Middlebrooks of a base hit and close out a scoreless inning for the Astros.
Mid 7th, 8-4: Alex Wilson’s return to the big leagues begins with a scoreless inning, and he has Daniel Nava to thank for it.
Wilson allowed a leadoff single followed by a double to put men in scoring position with no outs. He then struck out Robbie Grossman, and got Jose Altuve to fly out to right field.
Jake Marisnick tried to come home on Altuve’s flyout, but Nava fired a strike to Christian Vazquez to nail the runner at the plate, ending the inning and preserving the Red Sox’s four-run cushion.
End 6th, 8-4: Well, the tide of this game certainly has turned.
After entering the sixth inning with a three-run deficit, the Red Sox leave it with a four-run lead.
Pedroia roped a curving line drive that bounced off the chalk in right field and into the seats, scoring Will Middlebrooks from third and Jackie Bradley Jr. from second.
David Ortiz, the 12th batter of the inning, grounded out to end it.
Allen Webster’s night is now done, as the recently recalled Alex Wilson takes over on the mound for the Red Sox. Though it was not the starter’s best performance by any stretch, he’s now in line for the win.
Bottom 6th, 6-4: After two walks, a sac fly and two runs, Darin Downs’ brief and unsuccessful outing is over.
Jackie Bradley Jr., who hadn’t walked since July 24, drew a base on balls from Downs, bringing in Mike Napoli from third. The reliever then got Christian Vazquez to fly out to right field, but Vazquez’s fly ball was deep enough for Daniel Nava to score easily.
After Downs walked Brock Holt — who doubled to lead off the inning — to load the bases, Astros manager Bo Porter had seen enough. Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz will come on to try to finish out this disastrous inning for Houston.
Bottom 6th, 4-4: The Red Sox have tied it up, and the Astros have gone to their bullpen.
Brock Holt led off the inning with a double to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz then repeated their performance from the fourth inning, knocking back-to-back singles. Holt came home on Ortiz’s base hit to cut Houston’s lead to 4-2.
Yoenis Cespedes then grounded into what could have been his second double play of the night, but no Astros fielder covered first, forcing Houston to settle for the out at second.
Pedroia took third on the play, and he came in to score on an ensuing single by Mike Napoli.
A walk to Daniel Nava then loaded the bases with one out, and Will Middlebrooks followed with a line drive just out of the reach of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. That base hit tied the game at four runs apiece and chased Astros starter Scott Feldman from the game. Left-hander Darin Downs is in to pitch.
Mid 6th, Astros 4-1: Allen Webster allows the leadoff man to reach, but a lazy flyout and a nifty, 4-6-3 double play helps him turn in his second consecutive scoreless inning.
Jason Castro provided the base hit, a single down the right field line. Jon Singleton followed by flying out to center, and Dustin Pedroia scooped up a Matt Dominguez grounder, pivoted and fired to Brock Holt to kick off the twin killing.
End 5th, Astros 4-1: Nothing doing for the Red Sox in the fifth, as Scott Feldman turns in his third 1-2-3 inning of the night.
Will Middlebrooks led off with a line drive that didn’t quite make it over the head of Dexter Fowler in center. Jackie Bradley Jr. flied out to center, as well, and Christian Vazquez grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
With the exception of their productive fourth inning, Red Sox batters have gone a combined 1-for-13 against Feldman, who has thrown just 67 pitches.
Mid 5th, Astros 4-1: Allen Webster finally enjoys another stress-free inning since the first, employing three consecutive groundouts to retire the side.
Webster completed the frame in just 11 pitches, bringing his count for the night up to 81.
End 4th, Astros 4-1: The Red Sox are stirring.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Yoenis Cespedes, though he grounded into a double play, scored Pedroia from third with Boston’s first run.
Mike Napoli then worked a walk but was foiled trying to come home on Daniel Nava’s double off the wall in left. It was a questionable call to send Napoli, as the ball already had been relayed to the infield by the time he was halfway down the third base line.
Still, the Sox are on the board.
Mid 4th, Astros 4-0: The Houston lead continues to balloon as the Astros find new ways to score off Allen Webster.
Webster nearly began the fourth inning with his first strikeout of the day after getting ahead of Jon Singleton 0-2. Instead, he lost him, issuing his third walk and putting the leadoff man on for a third straight inning.
Singleton did not stay on base for long, though. Matt Dominguez blasted the first pitch he saw from Webster over the Green Monster, giving the visitors a 4-0 lead.
But, just like he did after surrendering runs in the previous two innings, Webster proceeded to retire the side in order.
Will Middlebrooks followed the home run — Webster’s first allowed this season — with a nice, leaping play to rob Jake Marisnick of a base hit down the third base line. Marwin Gonzalez popped out in foul territory, and Robbie Grossman went down swinging.
End 3rd, Astros 2-0: The Red Sox came through with their first hit of the night here in the third, but not much else.
Will Middlebrook and Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out and struck out, respectively, to open the frame before Christian Vazquez, who had been hitless in his last 13 at-bats, shot a single back up the middle.
Vazquez advanced no further, though, as Brock Holt grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Astros 2-0:Last inning, walks and errors hurt the Red Sox. This time, it was good, old-fashioned hits.
No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez led off the inning with Houston’s first hit of the night, doubling to the warning track in right.
That was the first of three straight base knocks for the Astros, as Robbie Grossman singled, scoring Gonzalez, and Brock Holt dove but couldn’t handle a grounder in the hole from Jose Altuve.
Webster got off easy against Chris Carter, who popped up on his first pitch, and he got Dexter Fowler to swing and miss on a 1-2 slider for the second out.
Jason Castro grounded out to Mike Napoli for the final out, and the Astros stranded a runner in scoring position for the second straight inning.
End 2nd, Astros 1-0: That’s six up, six down for Scott Feldman.
Yoenis Cespedes sent a howling line drive into center field to lead off the inning, but he was robbed on a great play by Dexter Fowler.
Mike Napoli then turned in a nice at-bat, fouling off four pitches before bouncing Feldman’s 10th offering over the pitcher’s head. A more fleet-footed player might have been able to turn that into an infield hit, but shortstop Marwin Gonzalez gathered the grounder in time to nab Napoli at first.
Daniel Nava grounded out to second to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Astros 1-0: Walks are what killed Allen Webster in his first two starts of the season, and they’re putting him in a hole already tonight.
Webster walked the first two batters of the second inning — Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro — on a total of nine pitches, and an error by first baseman Mike Napoli allowed Fowler to come all the way home with the game’s first run.
Napoli tried to backhand a grounder off the bat of Jon Singleton, but it ricocheted off the heel of his glove and into center field. Dustin Pedroia chased it down, and Castro, who does not run well, decided not to try for third base.
That decision proved beneficial to the Red Sox, as the next batter, Matt Dominguez, grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Jake Marisnick flied out to center to end the inning and strand Castro on third.
End 1st, 0-0: Scott Feldman follows up Allen Webster’s brief inning with one of his own.
Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz grounded out to second, short and first, respectively, as the Red Sox went down in order.
Mid 1st, 0-0: After the ceremony delayed first pitch by a few minutes, Allen Webster gets this game right back on schedule with a 1-2-3 first.
Robbie Grossman started things off with a line drive that looked like it might drop into the left-center field gap, but Yoenis Cespedes was able to range over to his left to make the grab.
Jose Altuve then grounded out to Brock Holt, who’s filling in for Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, and Christian Vazquez camped under a sky-high popup from Chris Carter for the final out.
The Red Sox will send Holt, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to the plate to face Scott Feldman in the bottom of the frame.
7:10 p.m.: Pedro’s entrance is indeed met with raucous cheers, and he is the only inductee to receive two Hall of Fame plaques.
All four toss out ceremonial first pitches, and Jimmy Fund patient Bennett Olson joins the Hall of Famers in announcing to the crowd that it’s time to “play ball.”
Well, you heard him. Let’s play ball. Robbie Grossman, Jose Altuve and Chris Carter are due up first against Red Sox starter Allen Webster.
7:04 p.m.: Next come Roger and Nomar, both to standing ovations. Something tells me the next guy will be greeted with the loudest one of all, though.
7:02 p.m.: After the introductions of Red Sox Hall of Famers Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans and Jim Rice, Joe Castiglione is the first to receive his plaque.
6:25 p.m.: The red carpet has been rolled out of the home dugout, and it looks like we’re just about ready to get things started.
Literal red carpet has been rolled out. http://t.co/WsWKRMzdGF—
Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 14, 2014
6:05 p.m.: As we mentioned before, this isn’t your typical Thursday night at the ballpark.
John Farrell offered his thoughts on Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Roger Clemens earlier today:
“When you think of the three players that are going in, kind of around that time, they were peers of mine,” he said. “And to see the numbers that they put up is impressive. To be inducted into a Hall of Fame of an organization (with) this history, I think, speaks volumes. Even in the game at the same time, you looked upon their accomplishments, someone’s a fan, because in many ways, they made it look awful easy in their prime.”
5:20 p.m.: Yoenis Cespedes’ injury scare appears to be nothing more than that — a scare.
The power-hitting outfielder is back in the lineup tonight after leaving Wednesday’s win over the Cincinnati Reds with a hand injury. Another injured outfielder is the last thing the Red Sox need, but John Farrell said this afternoon that Cespedes’ injury is not serious and that his removal from the game was just a precaution.
“He could have continued on (Wednesday),” Farrell said. “But, precautionary, we just got him out of there. We don’t anticipate any issues as he goes through (batting practice) here today.”
In other injury news, Farrell said the team soon will determine the rehab plans for David Ross and Allen Craig, who currently are on the disabled list. Both participated in BP this afternoon.
Also, Xander Bogaerts is not in tonight’s starting lineup, but Farrell said the shortstop is just getting a routine day off.
Here are the full starting lineups:
Tonight's starting lineups. http://t.co/g6s41IgQEM—
Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 14, 2014
4:50 p.m. ET: The stars of seasons past will be out Thursday night at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox, who return home after an eight-game road swing, will honor the four newest inductees into the team’s Hall of Fame — Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra and Joe Castiglione — before first pitch of their matchup with the visiting Houston Astros.
After the ceremonies conclude, 24-year-old Allen Webster will take the hill for the Red Sox in search of his third win in four starts this season. The right-hander struggled with command over his first two outings, walking 11 in eight innings, but settled down in his third, issuing just two free passes and two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Los Angeles Angels last week.
“(Webster was getting) a more consistent strike one,” manager John Farrell said Thursday during his pregame news conference. “And I thought he and (catcher) Christian (Vazquez) did a good job of using his slider in particular against right-handed hitters and allowing him to get back in the strike zone if he missed with a particular strike zone.”
Opposing Webster will be veteran righty Scott Feldman, who was shelled in his last outing against Boston, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings of work. Feldman has been very strong of late, though, particularly in an Aug. 3 start against the Toronto Blue Jays. The 31-year-old went the distance in that contest, allowing a run on eight hits and two walks in his first complete game of the season.
With a victory Thursday night, the Astros would match their win total from last season (51).
We’ll have plenty more news and updates to bring you leading up to first pitch at 7:10 p.m.