EditorsNote: Fixes in 4th, 7th grafs
Alex Bregman and Martin Maldonado slugged solo home runs, and Charlie Morton worked five innings in his first start off the disabled list as the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to seven games with a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park.
Morton (14-3) skipped a turn in the rotation with right shoulder discomfort and, while he labored a bit, limited the Red Sox to two runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Morton did allow a solo home run to Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts in the fifth inning, Bogaerts’ 21st on the season, but proved resilient enough to record the decision.
In the bottom of the fourth, Morton got a big assist from center fielder Jake Marisnick, whose running catch into the Green Monster retired Andrew Benintendi, concluded the inning and enabled Morton to leave the bases loaded with the Astros leading by four runs.
Astros rookie right-hander Josh James, making his first career relief appearance and second overall, recorded eight crucial outs in relief of Morton. Astros closer Roberto Osuna recorded his sixth save with Houston (15th overall) despite allowing an RBI single to Benintendi.
Osuna followed by inducing J.D. Martinez to hit into a game-ending double play. Martinez finished 0-for-5.
Things flipped quickly on Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who retired the side in order on 12 pitches in the first inning. He fanned George Springer and Jose Altuve to open the game and appeared set to mimic the strong start Boston received from David Price in the series opener.
But the Astros sent seven batters to the plate against Rodriguez in the second, with Tyler White following a one-out double from Carlos Correa with a triple to straightaway center field that eluded Jackie Bradley Jr. White scored when Marisnick produced a sacrifice fly, and the Astros took a 2-1 lead. Rodriguez (12-4) endured another laborious frame when he returned in the third.
Bregman drilled his 30th home run out to left with one out, extending the Houston lead to 3-1 with his 376-foot blast.
Rodriguez limited the damage to one run despite facing six batters in the third, but when he surrendered the solo shot to Maldonado in the fourth, it was clear that his time on the mound would soon come to an end. Rodriguez walked Springer with one out in the frame and was pulled in favor of Brandon Workman, who allowed Springer to score on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel that required a sliding catch from right fielder Mookie Betts to secure.
—Field Level Media