The Boston Red Sox pitching staff struggled again Thursday night in a 12-2 loss to the Houston Astros in a potential American League Division Series preview at Fenway Park.
Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and five earned runs. Boston’s bullpen didn’t fare much better, either, allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits.
The Red Sox’s magic number to clinch the American League East is only one because the New York Yankees also lost Thursday night.
The loss drops the Red Sox to 92-67, while the Astros improve to 99-60.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Astros’ high-powered lineup scored 12 runs on 17 hits.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
A four-run fourth inning for the Astros increased their lead to 9-2, which was too much of a deficit for the Red Sox to overcome.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez walked George Springer to lead off the game and then gave up singles to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to load the bases. After striking out Evan Gattis for the second out, E-Rod gave up a bases-clearing double to Marwin Gonzalez. No further damage was done, but Houston took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the first.
Rodriguez allowed more runs in the second inning when Alex Bregman launched a two-run homer into the Green Monster seats, giving the Astros a 5-0 edge. Altuve singled and Correa walked in the next two at-bats, and that was it for Rodriguez. He pitched just 1 2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs and six hits, along with two strikeouts and two walks.
— Blaine Boyer relieved Rodriguez and recorded the final out of the second inning. He came back out for the third inning and didn’t allow any runs despite Houston’s two singles. Boyer ran into trouble in the fourth inning, when he gave up a walk, a single and a ground-rule double to begin the frame. Three more hits resulted in three additional runs crossing the plate to give Houston an 8-2 edge.
— Fernando Abad relieved Boyer with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning. His fourth pitch sailed past Sox catcher Christian Vazquez to the backstop, allowing Houston to score another run and advanced its runners to second and third. Abad soon departed after 1/3 inning.
— Austin Maddox relieved Abad and struck out Bregman — who actually led off the inning with a walk — to end the frame. Maddox took the mound for the fifth inning and pitched a scoreless frame. He pitched the sixth inning, too, and served up a home run to Brian McCann, which increased the Astros’ lead to 10-2.
— Matt Barnes pitched the seventh inning for the Red Sox and surrendered three hits, including a two-run homer to Correa that gave Houston a 12-2 lead.
— Heath Hembree pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
— Hector Velazquez pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Mitch Moreland got the Sox on the board with a solo homer in the second inning. He also hit a home run in Wednesday night’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Vazquez singled and later advanced to third when Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a single. Xander Bogaerts drove in Vazquez with a single to right field, which extended his hit streak to seven games. The Red Sox stranded two runners as the inning ended with the Astros up 5-2.
— Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., Moreland, Vazquez and Hanley Ramirez were the only Red Sox starters with a hit.
— Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers combined to go 0-for-13.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Basketball season and the MLB playoffs should make for an exciting October.
The Red Sox and Astros resume their four-game series Friday night at Fenway Park. Boston’s Doug Fister versus Houston’s Charlie Morton is the probable pitching matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images