Eduardo Rodriguez gave the Boston Red Sox exactly what they needed on Sunday.
Facing a sweep against the Astros, and with the New York Yankees’ lead in the American League East becoming a bit more daunting of late, Rodriguez out-dueled Houston ace Justin Verlander to give Boston a 4-1 win at Minute Maid Park.
Rodriguez tossed six innings, allowed one run in the first inning, and held a potent Houston attack to four hits while striking out five and walking one. Verlander gave the ‘Stros seven innings, striking out six.
Rodriguez earned the win, while Verlander took the loss. Marcus Walden picked up his first save of the season.
The Red Sox move to 28-25 with the win, while Houston drops to 35-19 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Sox pick up an essential win to avoid a sweep in Houston.
ON THE BUMP
— A tough bounce had Rodriguez’s day get off to a shaky start.
The lefty allowed a leadoff single to Aledmys Diaz, who advanced to second on a slow roller from Alex Bregman. A groundout brought Carlo Correa to the dish with two outs. The Houston shortstop drilled a liner that Devers was able to get leather on, but was unable to keep in the infield. Eduardo Nunez chased the ball down into shallow left field, but his throw to the plate was unable to get Diaz.
But Rodriguez settled in quite nicely from there, retiring 10 consecutive batters after a Bregman double to start the eighth. He allowed just one more baserunner during his outing, a one-out walk in the sixth to Carlos Correa, who promptly was picked off by Christian Vazquez.
— Brandon Workman fanned two in a spotless seventh inning.
— Matt Barnes worked around a one-out walk, tossing a scoreless eighth with a pair of strikeouts.
— Walden shut things down with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Sox got on the board in the third inning after singles from Steve Pearce and Eduardo Nunez set up a one-out sacrifice fly from Andrew Benintendi.
— Devers gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth with this towering blast to center field:
— Boston made it three consecutive innings with a run in the fifth.
Nunez clubbed a one-out double, then scored on a fielding error by Houston second baseman Yuli Gurriel to make it 3-1. Boston did strand runners on second and third following back-to-back pop outs from Devers and J.D. Martinez.
— The Sox manufactured some insurance in the top of the ninth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. walked with one out, advanced to second on a balk by Tony Sipp, then scored on a Nunez groundout to make it 4-1.
— Devers and Nunez each had two hits. Mookie Betts, Martinez and Pearce also had hits. Michael Chavis went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and walk.
TWEET OF THE GAME
You know what? That is pretty neat.
The Red Sox will host the Cleveland Indians on Monday for Game 1 of a three-game set. First pitch at Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images