Tanner Houck on Sunday earned the second win of his Major League Baseball career in as many starts for the Red Sox.
The right-hander dominated Boston’s 10-2 win over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, and this outing was just as impressive as the first.
Houck gave up just one hit in six innings, throwing a no-hitter through the first five until a Tyler Wade double broke it up in the sixth. He still finished the day with a 0.00 ERA, though.
He struck out four batters, including MLB home run leader Luke Voit, giving up just one hit and one unearned run with three walks.
“The game plan every time I go out is to go nine innings, complete game, perfect game,” Houck said during his postgame Zoom conference. “Obviously it doesn’t happen all the time but going deep into a game like that with a no-hitter is truly an unbelievable experience. I mean, it all goes back to following the game plan and executing the pitches whenever I needed to.
“It’s a good way to get my foot in the door and learn. I still obviously have things to work on going into 2021 but I’ll have one more start this year that I plan on going just as well. My confidence is really high and just got to continue to work. I’ve had success now but I know that there’s going to be bumps in the road and it’s all about how you bounce back after each start.”
Houck will get another start before the Red Sox’s season comes to a close. But with two in the books, he’s already etched his name into MLB history.
Per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, the righty is one of two pitchers to start their careers with two consecutive starts with five or more innings pitched, no earned runs and two or fewer hits allowed.
Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke was happy to see the starter’s stuff translating to the big leagues, especially against a team as hot as the Yankees, but isn’t surprised by Houck’s poise.
“I think that’s kind of his personality,” Roenicke said. “He’s kind of a laid back guy so that’s what I’d expect of him out on the mound. He doesn’t rush things, he tries to keep everything kind of slow and then just repeating pitches. I think as long as he can keep that composure and keep the rhythm in there, like we said, we saw big velocity the first time from him and a big change today in velocity, but the effectiveness is still there. He was able to make pitches, he’ll have big movement on his fastball, and that should play really well against these major league hitters.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen when you bring up a young guy. You don’t know how he’s going to perform… Seeing him against a really hot offense, which these guys have been, we had a great performance with Martin (Perez) and now followed up with him. Yesterday we know the game got away from us but it’s great to see that the stuff everybody has seen in out minor league system comes up and it plays. When he made pitches it plays against some of the best hitters there are so it’s pretty cool to see.”
Here are some other takeaways from Boston’s win over New York:
— The Red Sox on Sunday snapped the Yankees’ 10-game win streak and prevented them from clinching a playoff spot. Having grown up watching the rivalry, Houck was thrilled to partake in it with such a great performance.
“It was a great experience,” Houck said. “It’s a great rivalry that I remember watching growing up so you know, to be a part of it was truly amazing.”
The win also snapped a 12-game winning streak that New York held against Boston, which is tied for the Yankee’s franchise record set back in the 1953 season.
“We know what kind of team they have, we know we have to play a really great game,” Roenicke said. “We got a great job pitching today against them and some guys busted out today offensively.
— The Red Sox offense certainly matched Houck’s effort, with all but one player in their lineup recording a hit.
And though Tsu-Wei Lin failed to put the ball into play, that doesn’t mean he didn’t contribute, with a sacrifice fly that got him an RBI in the seventh.
Michael Chavis had two home runs, while Bobby Dalbec and J.D. Martinez went yard as well.
But Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to be finishing off his season strong, going 4-for-5 at bat Sunday with three runs and an RBI.
“Like we talk about with (Bradley), he’s got it going,” Roenicke said. “And we saw it last year and the year before, he’s hitting the ball the other way, squaring up almost all of his at bats, and when he’s doing that it’s really fun to see and it’s not just one pitch. He’s seeing the ball better, he’s not missing the mistakes and hopefully we can finishing off this last week with him continuing to hit the ball the way he is.”
— Martinez has struggled all season, and prior to Sunday’s game, hitting coach Tim Hyers spoke of some “bad habits” that have led to the designated hitter’s slump.
But hopefully, his homer against the Yankees can build his confidence back up leading into the offseason.
Martinez went 1-for-5 on Sunday. Roenicke saw some good things in his appearances at the plate.
“J.D. was really good too,” Roenicke said. “Not just the home run, but the other at bats I thought were really good from him. He didn’t get much to show from it but I thought it was really good.”
— Boston gets a day off on Monday, but return to action Tuesday as it hosts the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game series. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET, and righty Nick Pivetta will get the start.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images