The bullpen continues to be an area of concern for the Red Sox.

Boston relievers combined to allow four runs over 2 2/3 innings Friday, spoiling David Price’s tremendous start as the Red Sox fell to the Houston Astros 6-3 in the series opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox held a 2-0 lead entering the seventh, but things went haywire in the high leverage frames.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 97-45, while the Astros climb to 88-53.

Here’s how it went down:


Though the Red Sox had just a two-run advantage, the inability of the bullpen to preserve the lead or keep things close when the game hung in the balance doomed Boston.

— Price didn’t appear hampered by the left wrist contusion he suffered last Wednesday when he was drilled by a comebacker. The left-hander tossed 6 1/3 solid innings, allowing two runs on as many hits with 10 strikeouts and a pair of walks.

After allowing a walk in the first and a single in the second, Price really locked in. The southpaw retired 14 straight hitters at one point, posting 1-2-3 frames in the third through sixth innings.

In the seventh, Price allowed a leadoff double to Alex Bregman then walked Tyler White two batters later, which marked the end of his night.

— Ryan Brasier took over for Price with one down and runners on first and second. The righty immediately let Bregman score on a double from Yuli Gurriel, which cut Boston’s lead to 2-1. After Brasier got a pop out to record the second out, pinch-hitter Tony Kemp drilled a double to left, clearing the bases and putting the Astros ahead 3-2.

— Joe Kelly got the eighth with the game tied and allowed three singles to load the bases with no outs. Carlos Correa hit a sacrifice fly to score George Springer, putting the Astros back ahead 4-3.

With White at the dish, a wild pitch from Kelly allowed Jose Altuve to score, upping Houston’s advantage to 5-3. White then singled to left to score Bregman, making it 6-3.

— Tyler Thornburg allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth.

— The Red Sox gave themselves an advantage early in the first inning.

Mookie Betts began the game with a single, then moved to third on an Andrew Benintendi base knock then J.D. Martinez followed with a sacrifice fly to right to bring Betts in and make it 1-0.

— Xander Bogaerts doubled his team’s advantage in the fourth, belting a solo shot to straightaway center for his 20th dinger of the year.

— Down 3-2 in the seventh, the Red Sox answered. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Betts both worked one-out walks. Benintendi then grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners. Martinez responded with a single to left, which scored Bradley and tied the game at three and put runners back on the corners. Bogaerts, however, popped out to end the inning.

— Betts led the Red Sox with three hits.

— Benintendi, Bogaerts, Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Nunez all had one hit.

— Mitch Moreland, Sandy Leon and Bradley all went hitless, as did pinch-hitters Brock Holt and Rafael Devers.

Everyone’s No. 1 fan.

The Red Sox and Astros will play the middle contest of their three-game set Saturday afternoon. Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by Charlie Morton. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images