BOSTON — The Red Sox traded punches with arguably the best team in the American League. It ended with Boston hitting the canvas in extra frames.
The Red Sox, who rallied in both the seventh and eighth innings, suffered a 12-8, 10-inning loss to the Houston Astros in the teams’ series opener Friday night at Fenway Park.
The contest marked the first of eight consecutive home games for the Red Sox to close out the first half.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox rolled into the game with some momentum after winning five of seven on their recent road trip against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. Boston quickly decelerated, though.
Friday’s game moved at a snail’s pace despite back-and-forth scoring. And in the end, the Red Sox’s momentum came to a screeching halt via an extra-inning defeat.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Noe Ramirez’s major league debut didn’t go so hot.
Ramirez, who was selected to the active roster before the game, entered to begin the 10th inning. He immediately plunked Jose Altuve. Preston Tucker then hit a hot shot that ate up first baseman Mike Napoli. Carlos Correa singled into left field to give the Astros a 9-8 lead.
Houston ended up scoring four runs in the inning to build a 12-8 advantage.
ON THE BUMP
— Justin Masterson completely fell apart in the fourth inning.
Masterson yielded seven hits in the fourth as the Astros struck for five runs to take a 5-2 lead. Red Sox manager John Farrell finally pulled the plug with runners at the corners and two outs.
Masterson, making his second start since rejoining the Red Sox’s rotation, surrendered eight hits and walked two over 3 2/3 innings of work. Tommy Layne escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning to make sure Masterson wasn’t taxed with more than the five earned runs he allowed while in the game.
— Layne, who walked the first batter he faced before escaping the bases-loaded jam, struck out three over 1 2/3 innings. He surrendered back-to-back singles to open the sixth inning, struck out the final batter he faced and then gave way to Matt Barnes.
— Barnes, who struck out both batters he faced in the sixth inning, ran into trouble in the seventh inning.
He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. Altuve lined a two-out, two-run single just beyond the reach of a diving Xander Bogaerts to give the Astros a 7-5 lead and send Barnes to the showers.
— Craig Breslow gave up a monster home run to Correa in the eighth inning. Correa’s homer gave the Astros an 8-7 lead at the time.
— Koji Uehara worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning with the score tied 8-8.
— The Red Sox turned to Ramirez in the 10th inning, which, as mentioned, didn’t go well. Farrell said after the game Junichi Tazawa, who hasn’t pitched since June 28, was unavailable because he threw a bullpen session before the game following his layoff in Toronto.
Ramirez allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Hanley Ramirez absolutely crushed Dan Straily’s first pitch of the second inning to left-center field for his 17th home run of the season.
Ramirez also picked up an RBI and scored a run in the fifth inning.
Ramirez hit a ground ball in the fifth that the Astros looked to turn into a double play. Altuve’s throw drilled David Ortiz in the helmet and sailed into the stands. Bogaerts scored on the play and Ramirez scored one batter later when Pablo Sandoval singled.
— Sandoval had two RBI singles off left-handed relievers.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-6 with an RBI single.
Betts singled home Alejandro De Aza in the second inning. De Aza walked and advanced to third base on Ryan Hanigan’s single into right field.
— Bogaerts had two hits, raising his average to .300. He also scored three runs.
— Ortiz reached base four times (single, double, two walks). He singled home Boston’s third run of the game in the fifth inning and doubled home a game-tying run with two outs in the eighth inning.
Ortiz knocked in Bogaerts in the eighth with a double off the left field wall. Betts was caught trying to steal third base moments earlier, but Bogaerts worked a two-out walk to reignite the rally.
— De Aza’s hit streak was snapped at eight games.
— Mike Napoli was the only Red Sox starter who didn’t reach base. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, continuing his dismal season.
TWEET OF THE GAME
The bad news is Noe Ramirez got hit pretty hard in MLB debut. The good news is he didn't appear to forget how many outs there were. #RedSox—
Steve Buckley (@BuckinBoston) July 04, 2015
The Red Sox and Astros will celebrate the Fourth of July with a matinee showdown Saturday at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz will face Collin McHugh in a game scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images