After dropping the first two contests of a four-game set with the Astros, the Boston Red Sox looked destined for a third straight loss in Houston.
But a seventh-inning offensive onslaught changed the tone as the Sox claimed a 5-4 victory over the Astros on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Christian Vazquez smacked a solo shot to tie the game, followed by an Andrew Benintendi two-run blast two batters later to put Boston up 5-3.
The Red Sox climb to 40-19 with the win, while the Astros fall to 37-23.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox looked like a defeated team up until the seventh, but the power surge flipped the script as the Sox claimed their first win of the series.
ON THE BUMP
— The starting pitching has been spotty at best for the Red Sox this series, but David Price turned in a mostly solid outing Saturday night. The southpaw allowed three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over six innings as the Sox won their fifth straight game with Price on the hill.
After an easy first inning, Price got into some trouble in the second with the Sox holding a 1-0 advantage. Yuli Gurriel led the frame off with a single, then stole second two batters later. With two outs, Marwin Gonzalez hit a triple to left-center field to lock the score up at one. Third was as far as Gonzalez would reach, however, with Price striking out Jake Marisnick to end the inning.
But things were worse in the third, as Alex Bregman followed up George Springer’s leadoff single with a homer into the left-field seats to put Houston up 3-1.
From there, Price settled down and cruised the rest of the way, posting 1-2-3 innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
— Heath Hembree relieved Price in the seventh, posting a scoreless, hitless frame with one walk and one strikeout.
— Joe Kelly pitched a chaotic eighth inning. The righty allowed a one-out walk to Jose Altuve, and after the second baseman stole second, Kelly got Carlos Correa to ground out to third. Altuve stole third with Gurriel at the dish, and was driven in on the first baseman’s grounder to right field to cut Boston’s lead to 5-4. But Kelly got Evan Gattis to fly out to end the stanza.
— Craig Kimbrel earned the save in the ninth, retiring the side in order with a pair of strikeouts.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox got off to a quick start. Benintendi opened the game with a walk, then after stealing second base, he scored two batters later on a J.D. Martinez single to center field.
— Following the first, Boston’s offense often came and went quietly for a handful of ensuing frames, as Astros starter Justin Verlander retired the side in order in the second, fourth and fifth.
— Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, however, the Red Sox showed some life, with Martinez driving in another run. Xander Bogaerts worked a one-out walk, and after stealing second, scored to cut the deficit to 3-2 on Martinez’s single to right field.
— Things turned around in a big way in the seventh, however. With the Sox trailing 3-2 and Verlander out of the game, Vazquez and Benintendi gave the Red Sox a 5-3 advantage by launching moonshots off reliever Will Harris.
First, with the bases empty and two outs, Vazquez took a 3-1 cutter over the plate way out into left field to tie the game up.
Then after a Jackie Bradley Jr. walk, Benintendi gave the Sox the 5-3 advantage with a two-run blast into the upper deck in right field.
— Martinez led the Sox with two hits, while Benintendi, Nunez and Vazquez each had one hit.
— Bogaerts, Moreland, Rafael Devers, Blake Swihart and Bradley Jr. all went hitless.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
What an inning.
The Red Sox and Astros will meet for the series finale of the four-game set Sunday night. First pitch from Minute Maid Park is set for 7:38 p.m. ET. Rick Porcello is expected to get the ball for Boston and be opposed by Charlie Morton for the ‘Stros.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images