Red Sox 15, Astros 10

When Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway tied a major league record

with four passed balls in the first inning as he struggled to

handle pitches from knuckleballer Steven Wright, it looked as if

Boston would be in for a long night.

Lavarnway and the rest of the Red Sox didn’t dwell on the tough

start and instead focused on how to overcome it.

Jacoby Ellsbury homered twice and Jonny Gomes added a three-run

shot and the Red Sox rallied from a five-run deficit for a 15-10

win over the Astros on Tuesday.

”We try not to give up until the game is over,” designated

hitter David Ortiz said. ”Things got kind of crazy at the

beginning, but we kept on playing through it.”

Houston extended its lead to 5-0 before Ellsbury’s two-run shot

in a three-run third closed the gap.

The Astros led 7-3 before a five-run fifth inning, highlighted

by a two-run double by Lavarnway gave Boston a one-run lead.

”It was a key swing in the game,” manager John Farrell said of

Lavarnway’s hit.

The Red Sox tacked on five more runs in the sixth, capped by the

pinch-hit homer by Gomes.

The win gives Boston 69 wins this season, which ties its win

total from last year’s difficult campaign with 47 games to go.

Robbie Grossman, Brett Wallace and Jake Elmore homered for the

Astros, who have lost five of six.

Ortiz had four hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Red Sox

and Shane Victorino added three hits and scored four times.

Wright lasted just one inning in his first major league start.

He had never thrown in a domed stadium before and said his ball had

more movement that it’s ever had. He felt bad that Lavarnway had

such a difficult time handling his pitches.

”Usually I can keep it within a certain area of the strike

zone,” Wright said. ”He’s caught me before, and he’s done a

really good job. And today it was all over the place and it makes

it tough.”

Brandon Workman (2-1) relieved him and got the win despite

yielding nine hits and six runs in 4 2-3 innings.

Houston’s Jordan Lyles (4-6) gave up nine hits for his third

straight start and tied a career high with eight runs in 4 2-3


”He pitched himself into some predictable fastball counts

against a really good fastball-hitting team,” manager Bo Porter

said of Lyles. ”They didn’t miss them and they put good swings on


Wright won his last two relief appearances and had thrown 9 2-3

scoreless innings entering Tuesday’s game. But he had trouble with

command from the start and walked leadoff hitter Robbie


Grossman stole second before advancing to third on the first

passed ball of the inning. He then plunked Brandon Barnes and he

later advanced to second on another passed ball.

A third passed ball allowed Grossman to score and Barnes to take

second. The last passed ball of the inning sent Barnes home before

a single by Jason Castro.

Wright walked Marc Krauss, prompting a visit to the mound by

Lavarnway. The visit didn’t seem to help as Wright soon followed it

with a wild pitch that left Castro at third.

He scored on a groundout by Wallace before Wright finally

escaped the inning by retiring Matt Dominguez.

It was the third time in major league history that a team had

four passed balls in one inning. It last happened on Aug. 22, 1987,

when Texas Rangers catcher Geno Petralli did it against the White

Sox in the seventh inning. Knuckleballer Charlie Hough was pitching

in that game.

Workman replaced Wright for the second inning and Jonathan

Villar singled with one out before Grossman launched his homer into

the seats in right field to extend the lead to 5-0.

Ellsbury’s homer got Boston within 5-2 the third inning. Ortiz

hit an RBI single later in the inning to make it 5-3.

Wallace matched his home run total from last year when he

connected on his ninth of the season to push Houston’s lead to 6-3

in the third.

L.J. Hoes hit his first career triple on a long fly ball which

bounced up onto Tal’s Hill in center field in the fourth. Villar

notched the first RBI of his career with a single that sent Hoes

home and make it 7-3.

Ellsbury walked to start the fifth before scoring on an error by

Hoes after a double by Victorino. Dustin Pedroia’s RBI double cut

Houston’s lead to 7-5 before a single by Ortiz. The Red Sox added a

run on a one-out groundout by Mike Carp which sent Ortiz to


Ortiz advanced to third on a wild pitch before Lyles walked

Stephen Drew.

Lavarnway’s double, which sailed out of reach of sprinting left

fielder Grossman, scored two to give Boston an 8-7 lead and chase


Ellsbury sent his second homer to the second deck in right field

off Jose Cisnero to leave Boston up 14-9 in the seventh.

NOTES: Boston reliever Matt Thornton, who left the game on

Sunday in the eighth inning with tightness in his right oblique

area, is doing better, but still isn’t ready to play. ”He feels

improved just by going through range-of-motion-type movements,”

manager Farrell said. ”It was a good day for him, but we’re still

in that timeframe where a roster decision may have to be made if we

don’t see further progression by (Wednesday).” …Red Sox RHP Clay

Buchholz, on the disabled list with neck and shoulder ailments, had

a bullpen session on Tuesday where he threw 27 pitches. ”He came

out of today’s session feeling pretty good about himself, and more

importantly, he’s built up enough of a foundation that we can build

a mound progression for him to follow,” Farrell said.

”Progressive steps are being made right now, which is good.”…

Sprinter Carl Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medalist, threw out

the ceremonial first pitch. … The series wraps up on Wednesday

when Boston’s Ryan Dempster opposes Jarred Cosart.