It has been a chaotic couple of days for the Boston Red Sox.
The reigning World Series champs cruised to victory in the first two contests of the four-game set at Minute Maid Park. And in that stretch, Drew Pomeranz’s struggles continued, while Chris Sale was knocked around for the second straight outing.
At points Saturday, it looked like it was going to be more of the same the Sox. But thanks to a nice show of resilience, Boston’s resolve allowed them to grind out a 5-4 victory over Houston.
The Red Sox entered Saturday 4-0 in starter David Price’s last four outings. However, Price was tagged for a trio of runs in the first three innings, including a two-run blast from Alex Bregman in the third.
But with his offense still in striking distance, Price buckled down and recorded 1-2-3 frames in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
With Price holding up his end of the bargain in his final three innings, the offense made sure to reward him.
After cutting the lead to 3-2 in the sixth, a two-run solo shot from Christian Vazquez tied the game and was followed up two batters later with a go-ahead blast from Andrew Benintendi.
Joe Kelly worked himself into trouble in the eighth and allowed a run, but dialed back in and ultimately kept the lead preserved before the final frame finished without issue.
At every turn, the Red Sox were challenged, but each time they found ways to get through it.
Now that we enter the proverbial June doldrums of the season, the Red Sox are going to be tested. Whether it’s through injuries, facing other top-class teams or trying to snap losing skids, Boston is going to have to find ways to eek out wins.
Saturday they were tasked with all three of the aforementioned challenges, and the made sure to answer the bell.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Astros:
— With Betts on the disabled list, Blake Swihart got his second start in the last three games in right field Saturday night.
The utility man did not need to make any overly challenging plays, but he continued to be an adept fielder throughout the night.
His time playing time doesn’t look like it is about to change, either. While Swihart may not see action in right field, manager Alex Cora indicated before the game that he will catch at least one game at some point next week. Although Swihart has spent some time behind the plate this season, he has not started a game at catcher — his natural position — since April 12, 2016.
— Although J.D. Martinez wasn’t responsible for either of the game-altering home runs, the Red Sox would not have been in a position to win if not for the designated hitter.
Martinez was the only Red Sox batter with two hits, and both times he connected it plated runs. The 30-year-old had a pair of RBI singles, upping his average to a .321.
— The past five times Price has started, the Red Sox have won.
That figure coincides with the southpaw’s return to the mound after missing a start against the New York Yankees in order to get his hand evaluated for what turned out to be carpal tunnel syndrome. He clearly has found his form, and with Sale’s recent struggles and Pomeranz’s pervasive issues, Price lately has become the stable performer the Sox’s rotation needs.