Red Sox’s Sixth-Inning Explosion Powers Series-Opening Win Over Astros

daniel nava craig breslowBOSTON — Sometimes, one inning is all it takes. For the Red Sox on Thursday, that inning was the sixth.

Boston sent 12 men to the plate in the bottom half of that frame, roughing up Houston Astros starter Scott Felman and two relievers for a season-high seven runs en route to a 9-4, come-from-behind victory at Fenway Park.

“We came to life,” manager John Farrell said. “We were able to combine some base on balls with some base hits. It seemed like we got a couple of pitches up on the plate from Feldman, which, the first time or two through the order, he kept us in check, kept us off balance.”

Farrell was correct in his assessment of Feldman, who, up to that point, hadn’t shown many cracks. The Red Sox plated a run in the fourth after falling into an early 4-0 hole, but outside of that inning — which ended when Mike Napoli was thrown out trying to score on a Daniel Nava double — Boston batters had gone a mere 1-for-13 against the veteran right-hander.

“He’s a good pitcher. He knows how to pitch,” Nava said. “He was hitting his spots early, mixing and matching with his sinker and cutter, curveball, throwing a couple of changeups, so I think we were able just to work some counts. We had a good game in terms of just grinding them out, and eventually, things started to fall our way.”

Brock Holt was the catalyst for the comeback, opening the floodgates with a leadoff double in that pivotal sixth inning. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz followed with base hits of their own — Ortiz’s scoring Holt from third — and after the Astros botched a potential double play on a Yoenis Cespedes grounder, settling instead for one out, the Red Sox proceeded to put seven of their next eight batters on base.

The rally culminated in a two-out, two-run ground-rule double by Pedroia that came against Houston’s third pitcher of the inning and stretched the Sox’s advantage to 8-4. It was the second baseman’s second hit of the inning and third of the game as he continues to swing a hot bat.

“I think over the last couple of weeks, he’s getting multiple hits a game,” Farrell said. “He’s seemingly in the middle of run-scoring situations for us. And I think anytime of late when he’s really turned on some balls and pulled into that left field corner or down into left field, I think it’s an encouraging sign because he’s been pitched away so much over the last year-plus, and he hasn’t missed those pitches on the inside part of the plate that have been strikes.”

The win was the Red Sox’s fourth straight but their first comfortable victory in nearly a month. Ten of their last 11 games entering Thursday had been decided by two runs or fewer, and the Sox hadn’t won by a wider margin than that since their 14-1 steamrolling of the Toronto Blue Jays back on July 21.

With the final 10 games of an 11 games-in-11 days stretch still looming, Farrell was pleased to see his team finally run away with one.

“It’s good to see us break out,” he said. “A very good offensive night overall, particularly by Pedey, and particularly with the two-run double to cap that sixth inning.”

Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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