Everything was looking great for the Red Sox against baseball’s best team, the Houston Astros, until John Farrell made the awful, yet typical, Farrell move by electing to bring David Price back out for the 6th inning while being over 100 pitches and not looking sharp all night.
The Sox were down 2-1 in the 6th inning until Xander Bogaerts got the lead back for the Sox with a 2-run HR (his 2nd of the night). The Sox scoring continued in the inning with a 2-run double off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. improving the Sox lead 5-2.
Although Price had only given up 2 runs through 5 innings against the Astros powerhouse lineup, he did not have great stuff. He pitched into deep counts, walked 3 batters, and gave up 7 hits (including a Carlos Correa HR) before coming back out for the 6th. This is just Price’s 5th start of the season after spending the first 2 months on the DL with an elbow injury. So apparently, when your $217 million dollar pitcher is fresh off the DL with a serious injury, it’s OK to have him throw over 100 pitches thru 5 innings, not looking one bit sharp, then make the decision to send him back out for the 6th. Well, at least that’s what John Farrell thought was a good idea. Price gave up a HR to Jake Marisnick, who was the first batter Price faced in the 6th. Price has given up at least one HR in all of his starts so far this year, so when it’s clear his pitches were off all night, it made absolutely no sense for John Farrell to have Price go back out for another inning. Price’s final line was 5+ innings pitched, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits (including 2 HRs), 3 BBs and 3 Ks.
Heath Hembree then took over for Price in the 6th and immediately gave up a HR to the first batter he faced, George Springer. The Boston bullpen had been awesome of late, coming into the game with a 26-inning shutout streak, so it was an unlikely site to see a relief pitcher give up a HR, especially that quickly. The Sox lead was then trimmed to 5-4.
After Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia were both hit by pitches, Bogaerts hit a single to center that scored Mookie, giving the Sox another insurance run making the score 6-4 in the 7th inning.
The Sox brought on their setup man, Matt Barnes, for the 8th. He created a jam for himself by walking the leadoff man, Springer then Jose Altuve right after. Barnes then got Correa to line out to LF. Robbie Scott then took the mound with 1 out in the 8th, to face the left-hander, Brian McCann, with two inherited runners on base. Scott walked McCann on just 4 pitches to load the bases. Carlos Beltran, up with the bases loaded, hit a line drive to LF, scoring Springer, but a great throw from Andrew Benintendi cut down Altuve at the plate attempting to score from 2B. People should probably stop trying to run on the Sox outfield, just a suggestion though. Scott then struck out Yuli Gurriel, who got tossed for arguing strike calls, to end the inning.
The Red Sox entered the 9th with a 6-5 lead, as Craig Kimbrel was called upon for the save. Alex Bregman led off the inning by striking out. Derek Fisher then singled to LF. The Astros attempted to hit and run with Fisher at 1st and Nori Aoki up to the plate, but both times the play was on, Aoki fouled the ball off, eventually flying out to LF. With Springer up to the plate with 2 outs in the 9th, down by 1 run, Fisher was caught stealing at 2B by Christian Vazquez to end the game.
Craig Kimbrel picked up his American League leading 20th save of the season in the Sox 6-5 victory. Kimbrel has been absolutely filthy this year, striking out over half the batters he’s faced. Although he allowed a hit tonight, it is only the 9th hit he’s allowed all season, which is just insane.
The Red Sox took 2 out of 3 from the Astros, picking up a huge series win. The Sox are now 39-30 and tied for 1st place with the New York Yankees in the AL East.