Final, Astros 5-3: The Astros finally have a win at Fenway Park.
Christian Vazquez, Brock Holt and Kelly Johnson went down in order in the bottom of the 10th inning. Jake Marisnick’s two-run double in the top of the frame proved to be the difference.
The Astros had been 0-8 lifetime at Fenway before Friday’s victory. The only other team winless at a current Major League Baseball venue was the Colorado Rockies at Rogers Centre in Toronto (0-9).
The Astros never led until the 10th inning. Yoenis Cespedes smoked his first Fenway home run — a two-run blast — in the fourth inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. The ‘Stros tied the contest 2-2 on Robbie Grossman’s seventh-inning homer, but the Sox grabbed the lead right back on Holt’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Houston tied the game 3-3 in the eighth inning on a very strange play. Xander Bogaerts was unable to record a forceout at second base with two outs and Dustin Pedroia fired home in an attempt to throw out Gregorio Petit. Catcher Christian Vazquez’s momentum took him forward — he was expecting a rundown — and Petit maneuvered his way across the plate.
Craig Breslow suffered the loss. He ran into trouble in the 10th inning and Junichi Tazawa nearly escaped the jam. But Marisnick dropped a ground-rule double up the right field line to break the 3-3 tie.
Mid 10th, Astros 5-3: The Astros waited until the 10th inning to grab their first lead of the game. But hey, they’re now three outs away from their first win at Fenway Park in franchise history.
Craig Breslow immediately ran into trouble in the 10th inning. Gregorio Petit, who scored the game-tying run after pinch-running for Chris Carter in the eighth inning, singled into center field.
Dexter Fowler looked to bunt Petit into scoring position and got more than he bargained for. Fowler beat out a bang-bang play at first base.
Breslow plunked Jason Castro to load the bases. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong throw home on Jon Singleton’s flyout prevented the Astros from grabbing the lead.
Junichi Tazawa entered and pulled the Red Sox to within an out of escaping the jam. Jake Marisnick dropped a two-run ground-rule double up the right field line, though, and Houston will carry a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the 10th.
End 9th, 3-3: Free baseball!
Jose Veras, who tossed a scoreless eighth inning, began the ninth. He struck out Mike Napoli and retired Xander Bogaerts via a popout.
Veras walked Will Middlebrooks on seven pitches, opening the bullpen door for Tony Sipp. Sipp retired Jackie Bradley Jr. to send the game into extra innings.
Craig Breslow will pitch the 10th inning for Boston.
Mid 9th, 3-3: The Astros hit a couple of balls hard off Koji Uehara. They all found leather.
Uehara tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning despite the solid contact. Marwin Gonzalez and Robbie Grossman flied out to center field and left field, respectively, before Jose Altuve grounded to third.
Yoenis Cespedes made a nice running play to retire Grossman. The ball initially looked destined for the gap.
Mike Napoli, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks are due up in the bottom of the ninth.
End 8th, 3-3: Jose Veras sliced through the heart of the Red Sox’s order in the eighth inning.
The trio of Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes couldn’t get anything going in the eighth.
Pedroia grounded out, Ortiz flied out and Cespedes struck out.
Koji Uehara will pitch the ninth inning for Boston with the score tied.
More importantly, however, it appears Pedroia is coming out of this game. Kelly Johnson is going out to play second base. It’s unclear why at this point, but Pedroia did foul a ball off his foot.
Mid 8th, 3-3: We’re tied 3-3 following an incredibly bizarre play.
Chris Carter and Dexter Fowler singled off Edward Mujica to begin the eighth inning. The Red Sox then turned to lefty Tommy Layne to face Jason Castro and Jon Singleton, both of whom are left-handed hitters.
Layne struck out Castro and Singleton, continuing the southpaw’s impressive run since essentially taking over the role vacated by Andrew Miller, who was traded before the deadline.
Everything hit the fan with two outs.
Burke Badenhop entered, and Matt Dominguez hit a ground ball up the middle. Xander Bogaerts fielded it behind the second base bag and flipped to Dustin Pedroia. His toss was late.
Gregorio Petit, who pinch-ran for Carter, rounded third and darted home. Pedroia chucked the ball toward the plate and catcher Christian Vazquez caught it while running forward, perhaps anticipating a rundown. Vazquez realized he wasn’t going to be able to tag Petit, so he flipped to Badenhop, who was covering home. Badenhop couldn’t handle it, and Petit danced in with the game’s tying run.
The Red Sox challenged that A) Fowler was out at second base and/or B) Petit was out at home. The initial calls were upheld, however, so we’re all squared away heading into the bottom of the eighth.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-2: Red Sox manager John Farrell talked about Christian Vazquez’s instincts and enthusiasm before the game. Both were on display in the seventh inning as Vazquez scored the go-ahead run.
Vazquez singled into center field with two outs. He took second base when Dallas Keuchel unleashed a pitch in the dirt.
Vazquez had a good secondary lead off Keuchel. He wasted no time in bolting for second base as soon as he saw the pitch kick up dust.
Brock Holt recaptured the lead for Boston with a single into right field. Holt was tagged out trying to take second base after the throw was cut off, but Vazquez raced home to make it 3-2.
Vazquez slapped his hands in excitement upon sliding into home.
Edward Mujica will begin the eighth inning after seven solid frames from Clay Buchholz.
Mid 7th, 2-2: Robbie Grossman has knocked in both of Houston’s runs.
Clay Buchholz recorded two quick outs in the seventh inning. Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez both produced pop-ups in the infield.
Grossman jumped on Buchholz’s first pitch with two outs. He hooked it down the right field line toward Pesky’s Pole. It landed in the first few rows of seats for Grossman’s sixth home run of the season.
Jose Altuve ended the inning with a hot shot to third base. Will Middlebrooks made a nice backhanded stop and fired across the diamond, where Mike Napoli successfully corralled a one-hop throw that exploded on him.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox left a runner at third base.
David Ortiz led off with an eight-pitch walk. He wasn’t on the bases very long, as Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a double play.
Mike Napoli crushed a ball to center field with two outs. It bashed about halfway up the wall, resulting in a double.
Napoli took third base on a wild pitch, but Dallas Keuchel retired Xander Bogaerts on a routine grounder to second base to end the inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz is giving the Astros an inch. Rather than taking a mile, Houston is disregarding said inch altogether.
The Astros stranded two more in the sixth inning as Buchholz preserved the Red Sox’s one-run lead.
Buchholz surrendered a leadoff single to Chris Carter, whom he struck out in two previous at-bats. He then walked Jon Singleton after back-to-back strikeouts to put runners at first and second for Matt Dominguez.
Dominguez flied out to center field to end the threat.
Buchholz has nine strikeouts in the contest. He’s up to 101 pitches (67 strikes).
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Dallas Keuchel rebounded nicely in the fifth inning.
Keuchel struck out two in a scoreless inning. Christian Vazquez struck out looking, and Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging.
Brock Holt split the K’s with a ground ball to second base.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: The Astros grabbed one back.
Clay Buchholz was positioned to enjoy a second straight 1-2-3 inning until Jake Marisnick singled into left field with two outs. Buchholz had struck out Jon Singleton and Matt Dominguez to begin the inning.
Marisnick’s two-out knock was followed by two more singles. Marwin Gonzalez set up runners at the corners with a base hit into right field. Robbie Grossman did the same, cutting Boston’s lead in half.
Jose Altuve had an opportunity to erase Boston’s lead completely, but Buchholz forced the underrated second baseman to ground out harmlessly.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: Yoenis Cespedes hit his first Fenway Park home run in the fourth inning.
Cespedes smoked an absolute seed into the first row of Monster seats. The only question, really, was whether it would have enough elevation. It did.
Cespedes’ two-run blast came after David Ortiz beat the shift for a leadoff single. Cespedes had been homerless in nine career games at Fenway before his fourth-inning shot.
Mike Napoli kept his foot on the gas with a walk, but Astros starter Dallas Keuchel managed to avoid any additional damage.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Clay Buchholz worked through trouble in the second and third innings. The fourth inning didn’t present any issues.
Buchholz retired the side in order. He struck out Chris Carter and Dexter Fowler before Jason Castro grounded to first.
Carter went down on three pitches. Buchholz threw two straight curveballs to set down the strikeout-prone slugger.
Fowler swung through a 1-2 fastball.
End 3rd, 0-0: Brock Holt reached with two down in the third inning before Dallas Keuchel wrapped up another scoreless frame.
Jackie Bradley Jr. attempted to bunt his way aboard. Keuchel said “no chance” and successfully fielded the leadoff bid.
Christian Vazquez grounded to short for the second out. Holt then reached on a slow grounder down the third base line.
The Astros were playing in a shift against Holt, and it took a while for third baseman Matt Dominguez to retrieve the baseball.
Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz left another runner in scoring position.
Robbie Grossman doubled up the right field line with two outs. Brock Holt hustled in an effort to gun down Grossman, but Houston’s leadoff hitter slid in safely.
Buchholz escaped the inning by retiring Jose Altuve on a fly ball to center field. Altuve put good wood on it, but Jackie Bradley Jr. nonchalantly drifted back to make the catch.
End 2nd, 0-0: The Red Sox couldn’t take advantage of a one-out walk in the second inning.
Dallas Keuchel sandwiched a walk to Mike Napoli with strikeouts of Yoenis Cespedes and Xander Bogaerts. Cespedes fanned on a slider in the dirt, and Bogaerts went down hacking at a fastball.
Will Middlebrooks ended the inning with a ground ball to short that resulted in a forceout.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz wiggled his way out of a jam.
The first two hitters, Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro, reached to begin the second inning. Fowler worked a walk, and Castro lined a base hit into right field that sent Fowler racing from first to third.
The Astros’ threat came to a screeching halt at that point.
Jon Singleton struck out, and Matt Dominguez grounded into a 6-4-3, inning-ending double play.
End 1st, 0-0: Dallas Keuchel, like Clay Buchholz, started his outing on a positive note.
Keuchel induced a couple of ground ball outs en route to a perfect first inning.
Dustin Pedroia threatened to rip one down into the left field corner with one out. Third baseman Matt Dominguez made a nice diving stop. Pedroia was retired on a bang-bang play at first.
Keuchel finished off the 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout of David Ortiz.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Good first inning for Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz made quick work of Robbie Grossman to begin his outing. He struck out the Astros’ leadoff hitter on three pitches, including back-to-back curveballs to finish off the K.
Jose Altuve, one of baseball’s most underrated players, flied out to center field for the second out.
Buchholz struck out Chris Carter — go figure — to end the inning. Carter, a bona fide strikeout machine, went down swinging on a cutter after fouling off three straight offerings.
7:12 p.m.: Clay Buchholz tosses a first-pitch strike at Fenway.
5:20 p.m.: The Red Sox have won four straight for the first time since a five-game winning streak — separated by the All-Star break — from July 13-21. Boston’s last three victories have been of the come-from-behind variety.
Clay Buchholz, who starts Friday, was lights out the last time he faced the Astros. He tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout while striking out 12 in Boston’s final game before the All-Star break at Minute Maid Park.
The Red Sox will roll out a pretty standard lineup behind Buchholz on Friday. Jackie Bradley Jr., whose playing time has been sporadic, will start in center field for the third straight game.
Friday’s lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (55-65)
Brock Holt, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Christian Vazquez, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (5-7, 5.99 ERA)
Houston Astros (50-72)
Robbie Grossman, LF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Chris Carter, DH
Dexter Fowler, CF
Jason Castro, C
Jon Singleton, 1B
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Jake Marisnick, RF
Marwin Gonzalez, SS
Dallas Keuchel, LHP (10-8, 3.07 ERA)
5 p.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox have owned the Houston Astros at Fenway Park.
Sure, it’s a small sample size, given that Houston played in the National League until 2013. But the Red Sox are undefeated in eight games against the Astros at Fenway, outscoring them 52-23 in those contests.
The Red Sox, who swept the Astros at Fenway in an interleague, three-game series back in 2003, won all four of their games against the ‘Stros in Boston last season. The Sox kicked off the current four-game set against the Astros with a 9-4 win in Thursday’s series opener.
The only other team that is winless at a current Major League Baseball venue in which it has played at least eight games, according to Elias, is the Colorado Rockies at Rogers Centre in Toronto (0-9).
Clay Buchholz will take the ball for Boston on Friday night. The right-hander has struggled for much of this season, though he is coming off a strong performance Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. Buchholz allowed three runs on six hits over eight innings in that contest, which ultimately lasted 19 innings.
Buchholz will face Dallas Keuchel, who has had an excellent season for Houston. The left-hander enters with a 10-8 record and 3.07 ERA.
Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN and follow along with NESN.com’s live blog.