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:
GAME IN A WORD
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.
ON THE BUMP
— 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.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— 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.
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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