Red Sox Wrap: Astros Sink Sox As Boston’s Losing Streak Hits Six

Whether on the West Coast or in the heart of Texas, the story has been the same for your Boston Red Sox.

The reeling Red Sox on Tuesday dropped their sixth consecutive game, falling to the Houston Astros 8-3 in the opener of their three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Left-hander Brian Johnson took the loss in his major league debut, showing some encouraging signs but lasting just 4 1/3 innings for Boston.


The Red Sox have been a disaster since the All-Star break. Following a four-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels, the Sox on Tuesday put more than one runner on base in an inning just once. Boston also sent just three men to the plate in each of the final five frames, including two that ended via double play.

The Astros scored the final seven runs in the ballgame.

Astros designated hitter Chris Carter took Red Sox reliever Justin Masterson deep in the bottom of the sixth inning. The two-run homer broke the game wide open, giving Houston a 7-3 lead it would not relinquish.

— Johnson did not get off to the greatest start in his first taste of big league ball. The 24-year-old left-hander walked three through his first two innings to help Houston get on the board first, which it did via a Carlos Correa sacrifice fly.

Nerves appeared to be a factor for Johnson in those opening frames, as he threw just 22 of his first 42 pitches for strikes.

Johnson enjoyed much greater success in the third, utilizing a looping curveball to strike out Houston’s Nos. 1, 2 and 3 hitters in order, and proceeded to toss a flawless fourth, as well. To that point, he’d allowed just one hit.

The Astros changed that in a hurry in the fifth, with Chris Carter and L.J. Hoes smacking consecutive singles to lead off the frame. Jake Marisnick then reached on a fielder’s choice — with Carter taking third — and took off for second base during the ensuing at-bat.

Hanigan’s throw was off-target and, in the second strange deflection of the night, nailed Marisnick in the arm and rolled into left field. Carter scored easily, and Hanley Ramirez was late backing up the play, allowing Marisnick to come home, as well, and tie the game at three runs apiece.

After walking the next batter, Johnson’s night was done.

— Masterson relieved Johnson and did nothing to stop the bleeding. He hit Marisnick — the first batter he faced –then surrendered a ground-rule double to Correa that scored Jose Altuve from first.

That run closed the book on Johnson, who was charged with four runs (all earned) on three hits. He walked four and struck out three.

Evan Gattis followed up Correa’s double with an RBI groundout that put Houston ahead 5-3.

Masterson was able to get out of the inning, but his issues only intensified in the sixth. Hank Conger led off the frame with a double, and Carter’s homer made it 7-3. Masterson went on to allow an infield single, hit Marisnick for a second time and throw a wild pitch before retiring the side.

— Tommy Layne worked a perfect seventh. Junichi Tazawa retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth, but then allowed a triple to Marisnick and a single to Altuve that produced Houston’s final run.

— Xander Bogaerts came up with Boston’s first hit of the ballgame when he grounded one up the middle with two outs in the first inning. The ball deflected off the foot of second baseman Jose Altuve and into shallow left field, giving Bogaerts an unconventional double.

— Speaking of unusual two-baggers, Mookie Betts had one of his own two innings later.

After Alejandro De Aza and Ryan Hanigan led off the third with a single and a double, respectively, Betts accidentally made contact during an attempted check swing. The play turned out in the Red Sox’s favor, however, as the center fielder’s ground ball skirted just inside the first base bag, scoring both De Aza and Hanigan to put the visitors ahead 2-1. The hit snapped an 0-for-20 slump for Boston’s leadoff man.

Bogaerts also singled in the frame to drive in Betts and stretch Boston’s lead to 3-1. The shortstop finished the game 2-for-4 and has recorded multiple hits in five of the last six games, raising his average to .311.

— Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 and has not recorded a hit since returning from the disabled list (0-for-18). The heart of Boston’s order also struggled, with David Ortiz, Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval combining to go 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in the loss.

— The Red Sox as a team hit four doubles in the game — all in the first four innings. They had a total of three in the entire Angels series.

Yeah, that’s not good.

The Red Sox’s stay in Houston continues Wednesday. Joe Kelly, who’s spent most of the last month with Triple-A Pawtucket, will start for Boston opposite Astros right-hander Collin McHugh.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images

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