Mitch Moreland hit a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox averted a series sweep with a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Fenway Park.
Moreland finished 2-for-2 after entering as a pinch hitter. His single to left field scored pinch-runner Tzu-Wei Lin and came against right-hander Hector Rondon (5-1), the Astros’ fifth pitcher of the game. Lin was in scoring position thanks to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who capped a 4-for-4 night with a single that placed a runner in scoring position against Rondon.
The Astros had their seven-game winning streak snapped and their lead in the American League West shaved to three games in the loss column over the Oakland Athletics. Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (2-3) recorded the win by working a perfect top of the ninth inning.
Trailing 5-1 entering the sixth, the Astros mounted a rally against Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello and continued it against the scuffling Boston bullpen. Second baseman Jose Altuve provided the spark with a leadoff home run to left field, his 11th on the season, before Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa added singles. Facing Boston reliever Heath Hembree, Tyler White delivered a two-out, two-strike, two-run double off the Green Monster in left to make is 5-4.
Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson, brought on to face left-handed hitters Brian McCann and Josh Reddick, walked McCann and surrendered an RBI single to Reddick that tied the score.
The Red Sox benefited from a dubious call in the seventh when Altuve was ruled out at home following a throw from Bogaerts. The Astros challenged the call and replays appeared to show Altuve touching the plate before Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon applied the tag, but the original call on the field stood and Boston escaped the inning with the game tied at 5.
J.D. Martinez struck the initial big blow for Boston in the fifth, his three-run homer off Astros starter Dallas Keuchel turning a one-run advantage into a 5-1 lead. For Martinez, it marked his 40th homer of the season and appeared to provide Porcello the necessary cushion to cruise.
However, Keuchel limited the damage in the fifth and returned to work a clean sixth inning, allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks with two.
—Field Level Media