Porter on starting pitching: 'It's been addressed'
The Astros continued to struggle with runners in scoring position as well as strikeouts as they lost their third straight game to the Red Sox, 8-4, at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
Starters: Astros’ RHP Brad Peacock is coming off an outing in which he surrendered career highs of seven runs, nine hits and three home runs over 4 1/3 innings of Monday's 7-1 loss to Seattle. In his first start at Fenway Park on Saturday night, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings.
After allowing two hits in the first, he got out of the inning unscathed. It fell apart in the second when he allowed three hits and four walks and gave up four runs. Peacock already had 63 pitches after the second and ended up leaving with one out in the fourth after 90 pitches (51 strikes). His final line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO.
Red Sox LHP Felix Doubront got into immediate trouble in the first. He gave up two runs while hitting a batter and walking three. He settled down after that and did not allow anymore runs while striking out seven Astros, including the side in the third. His final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO. He won his career best-tying third consecutive start.
Bullpen: LHP Travis Blackley relieved Peacock with one out in the fourth and continued his impressive run since being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on April 20. He threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, giving up two hits and striking out two. LHP Wesley Wright pitched a scoreless sixth, walking two and striking out one. RHP Hector Ambriz didn’t fare as well, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out one in the seventh. RHP Jose Veras pitched a scoreless eighth with one strikeout.
The Red Sox bullpen gave up two runs.
At the plate: The Astros got things going early in the first with a Jose Altuve single, Brandon Barnes being hit by a pitch, a Ronny Cedeno sac fly and drawing three walks. Two runs scored while they left three men on base.
The Astros only had four hits on the night. With a single in the first, Altuve has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games. SS Marwin Gonzalez went 2-for-4 and RF Brandon Barnes and 3B Matt Dominguez added a hit each.
The Astros went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in Friday’s loss and continued to have problems on Saturday when they were 1-for-12 with RISP. They entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 232 strikeouts and added 12 more to that total. Chris Carter entered the game leading the league with 39 K’s and had four more in the loss.
Red Sox DH David Ortiz had an achilles injury kept him out for most of the second half of 2012 and the start of this year. But after going 2-for-3 on Saturday, he has now hit safely in each of his seven games since returning from the disabled list a week ago.
In the field: Astros CF Robbie Grossman committed an error on an Ortiz line in the first. Dustin Pedroia advanced to third, but luckily it did not lead to a Red Sox run.
In the sixth, Mike Napoli lined into a double play – shortstop Marwin Gonzalez to 2B Altuve, and Pedroia was doubled off at second base.
Red Sox SS Stephen Drew had an error in the eighth, but it didn’t lead to any runs.
Health Check: Astros C Justin Maxwell, who fractured his left hand on Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch, is estimated to return in four to six weeks.
LHP Rudy Owens, who is on the 40-man roster but with Triple A Oklahoma City, has a stress fracture in his left foot that will require surgery. Owens, who last started on April 22, will be in a walking boot for approximately six weeks and is estimated to return to game action in four to five months.
Boston OF Shane Victorino missed a third straight game due to lower back troubles.
Up Next: The Astros (7-17) and Red Sox (17-7) will conclude their four-game series at Fenway Park on Sunday at 12:35 p.m. RHP Bud Norris (3-2, 4.13) will start for Houston while RHP John Lackey (0-1, 4.15) will take the mound for Boston.
Then Houston will begin a three-game series at the Yankees beginning on Monday.