BOSTON — The Red Sox didn’t play their best baseball Sunday. But with the way this team is hitting, they didn’t need to.
The Red Sox played some sloppy baseball in their series finale against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park but mashed 14 hits en route to a 10-9 win.
Starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan was bounced after just 4 1/3 innings and Boston allowed five straight runs to squander an 8-4 lead, but the Sox pushed two across in the seventh and held on to take the series three games to one.
Boston has scored 73 runs in its last seven games and has plated 10 runs or more in five of those contests.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Good pitching and quality defense were nowhere to be found in this one. The Red Sox and Astros combined for five errors (three for Boston, two for Houston) and made several other miscues that didn’t show up in the box score. Both starters were gone by the fifth inning, and the teams combined for 19 runs and 22 hits.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Mookie Betts ripped an RBI triple to right field in the seventh inning.
Betts’ clutch hit broke a 9-9 tie and was part of a two-run frame that helped Boston regain the lead.
ON THE BUMP
— O’Sullivan didn’t fare too well in his brief outing. He allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits over just 4 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking two. The right-hander was plagued by the long ball, surrendering a three-run homer to Luis Valbuena and a solo shot to Carlos Correa. He exited with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
— Robbie Ross Jr. allowed two of O’Sullivan’s runs to score on a ground-rule double by Valbuena but struck out Preston Tucker to end the fifth inning. He was pulled after a leadoff walk in the sixth.
— Heath Hembree coughed up the Red Sox’s lead by surrendering three runs on two hits in the sixth. All three runs were unearned, as third baseman Josh Rutledge’s throwing error on a two-out grounder by Correa allowed Jose Altuve to score from third. Colby Rasmus and Tyler White followed with an RBI double and RBI single, respectively.
Hembree settled down to work a scoreless seventh and picked up the win after Boston scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
— Junichi Tazawa struck out two in a tidy eighth frame.
— Craig Kimbrel struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his 10th save of the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
Once again, Boston racked up runs early and often.
— Betts scored the Red Sox’s first run after Astros catcher Jason Castro made a throwing error trying to catch Dustin Pedroia stealing at second base. Hanley Ramirez brought in Pedroia with an RBI double to give the Sox a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
— The Red Sox put up a four-spot in the second inning thanks to Xander Bogaerts’ fourth home run of the season, a three-run bomb that cleared the Green Monster. Rutledge started the inning on a fly ball double that Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez lost in the sun, and Ryan Hanigan drove him in with an RBI single.
— Hanigan delivered again in the third inning with a two-out, two-RBI single that plated Ramirez and Rutledge. The Red Sox catcher finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and four RBIs.
— Boston caught a huge break in the seventh when Gomez and George Springer let a Hanigan fly ball drop between them, allowing Rutledge to come home with the tying run. Betts broke the tie with an RBI triple that scored Hanigan.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (1-for-3) roped a fifth-inning single to extend his Major League Baseball-best hitting streak to 21 games.
— Ramirez went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, raising his batting average to .324. He now has reached base in 22 consecutive games.
— Rutledge came off the bench to go 3-for-4 with three runs scored and now sports a .407 batting average in 16 games.
— Bogaerts (1-for-3, three RBIs) now owns a 10-game hitting streak and has seven RBIs in his last four games.
— Home plate umpire Joe West ejected Brock Holt in the seventh inning for arguing a third strike call.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Who needs the best clutch hitter in the game, anyway?
The Red Sox will hit the road for a three-game set with the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals. Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the start Monday against Royals righty Yordano Ventura. First pitch at Kauffman Stadium is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images