The Boston Red Sox badly needed a quality outing from starting pitcher Steven Wright on Friday night and they got exactly that.
Wright pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run (unearned) as the Sox cruised to a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Boston had lost four of its past five games entering Friday.
The Red Sox moved back to .500 (8-8) with the victory. Here’s a recap of their impressive performance.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox knocked out Astros starter Collin McHugh with great plate discipline and taking advantage of mistake pitches. This resulted in McHugh leaving the game after allowing 10 hits and five earned runs on 92 pitches in just four innings.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Astros, trailing 6-2, had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth inning, but they couldn’t get any more runs across.
ON THE BUMP
— Wright struck out Jose Altuve to begin the game. George Springer reached on a throwing error and Carlos Correa singled, but both were stranded to end the inning. Wright gave up one hit and struck out the side in the second frame, then made quick work of the third inning (aside from walking Correa). He followed that by retiring the side in order in the fourth.
After a walk to start the fifth inning, Wright got out of trouble with a double play and a line out in the next two at-bats. Correa reached base for the third time with a single in the sixth inning, but Wright didn’t allow him to advance any further and ended the frame without giving up any runs.
Wright nearly got through the seventh frame, but two walks and two passed balls ended his night after recording the first two outs. His final line: 6 2/3 innings, four hits, one run (zero earned), five walks and six strikeouts on 116 pitches.
— Heath Hembree relieved Wright and recorded the final out of the seventh by striking out Springer. Hembree pitched a scoreless eighth inning that included two strikeouts and a walk.
— Robbie Ross Jr. pitched the ninth for Boston. He gave up two hits, walked one and was taken out of the game after giving up an RBI single to Springer. Craig Kimbrel relieved Ross and recorded the final out of the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Mookie Betts tripled to center field and scored on a Dustin Pedroia single. He hit an RBI double in the second, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr. Betts singled in his third at bat, moving him just a home run away from the cycle. After hitting another triple in the ninth inning, he finished 4 for 5 with a pair of runs scored.
— Pedroia singled to center field, picking up an RBI. He singled again in the sixth, but was stranded. He finished 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored.
— Xander Bogaerts also collected a first-inning single. He hit an RBI double in the fourth inning, scoring Betts. He went 2 for 4.
— David Ortiz reached safely in the first with a walk. He was the only Red Sox starter without a hit.
— Hanley Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to score Pedroia in the first, giving Boston a 2-0 lead. He also singled in the third inning and later scored. Ramirez hit another single in the fifth, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Ramirez finished 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
— Bradley Jr. doubled in the second inning. He also scored a run and struck out twice.
— Brock Holt picked up a single in the third inning. It was his only hit in four at-bats.
— Travis Shaw hit singles in the third and fifth innings. He finished 2 for 4.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
The reigning NBA MVP was in the house.
The Red Sox and Astros play the second of their three-game series Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET. Clay Buchholz (Boston) vs. Mike Fiers (Houston) is the expected pitching matchup.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images