Red Sox 2, Astros 1
Boston ace Josh Beckett and a trio of his teammates learned
before the game that they were headed to the All-Star game.
Before they could celebrate the honor, the Red Sox had to handle
the Houston Astros to end this nine-game road trip with a winning
Beckett pitched a gem and the Red Sox scored the go-ahead run on
a walk in the ninth inning for a 2-1 win over the Astros on Sunday
and the series sweep to accomplish that goal.
Beckett (7-3) allowed five hits, a run and no walks while
striking out a season-high 11 in eight innings.
”He was great,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of
Beckett. ”He had to be because we didn’t have a whole lot going
Beckett said he tried not to think about his selection too much
before the game.
”It’s one of those deals where you don’t want it to be a
distraction,” he said. ”Obviously you’re happy and everything
like that, but you still have to go out there and do your
Beckett will be joined by teammates David Ortiz at designated
hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield and Adrian Gonzalez at
Ellsbury led the trio with two hits on Sunday during a game in
which Boston’s offense stalled after scoring 17 runs combined in
the first two games against the Astros.
Drew Sutton pinch-hit for Beckett in the ninth and drew a
one-out walk. Ellsbury followed with a single to right field before
Dustin Pedroia grounded into a forceout to leave runners at the
The Astros intentionally walked Gonzalez, the major league RBI
leader, to load the bases before Houston closer Mark Melancon (5-2)
walked Kevin Youkilis to make it 2-1.
Francona wasn’t surprised Houston walked Gonzalez.
”That’s the nice thing about having a good lineup. We have good
hitters,” Francona said. ”We always talk about, if they want to
walk somebody, make them pay.”
Youkilis said there’s no extra motivation for him when the
batter in front of him is intentionally walked.
”When the guy in front of you is hitting (.353) with 70 some
odd RBIs, it’s expected,” he said. ”I love the challenge … I
want to be the guy to bring the run home. We were very fortunate to
Melancon was disappointed in his performance against
”I just missed,” he said. ”I got down in the count, and he
was taking until I threw two strikes, and that just didn’t happen.
It’s something that needs to be done, and I didn’t do it.”
Boston’s other run came on a force attempt in the fourth inning
where Houston’s Brett Wallace committed an error to allow Youkilis
to score and put the Red Sox up 1-0. The Astros tied it with Angel
Sanchez’s RBI single in the fifth inning.
Jonathan Papelbon allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his
The loss drops the last-place Astros to 1-8 on their homestand,
which wrapped up Sunday.
The Red Sox got runners on base several times after Houston tied
it, but couldn’t capitalize until the ninth.
Josh Reddick walked with one out in the eighth before Boston
brought on Ortiz as a pinch hitter. The Houston crowd chanted
‘Papi, Papi, Papi,’ before Ortiz grounded into a double play.
Ortiz, normally Boston’s designated hitter, went 0 for 11 on this
nine-game road trip.
Ellsbury walked in the seventh before a single by Pedroia, but
the Red Sox left the inning empty-handed after Houston turned a
double play and reliever Sergio Escalona retired Youkilis.
Jason Varitek hit a two-out double in the sixth inning off
Houston rookie reliever David Carpenter but Beckett struck out to
end the top of the sixth.
Youkilis singled and J.D. Drew walked to start the fourth inning
before Yamaico Navarro loaded the bases with his one-out single to
right field. The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead on an error by Wallace
when his throw home was too high and Youkilis scored. Varitek
reached on a force attempt on that play. Youkilis took a cleat to
what appeared to be the lower leg when catcher Carlos Corporan’s
foot landed on him as he slid into home. He grimaced in pain when
it happened, but said after the game that he was OK.
Wallace doubled on a ball hit just in front of the wall in right
center field with no outs in the fifth inning. Pinch hitter Angel
Sanchez’s ground-ball single, that sailed just beyond the reach of
a diving Pedroia, scored Wallace to tie it 1-1. Sanchez stole
second base but Beckett struck out Michael Bourn to end the
Beckett didn’t yield another hit after Sanchez’s RBI until pinch
hitter Jeff Keppinger singled with no outs in the eighth inning,
but he retired the next three to end the inning.
Varitek walked with one out in the third inning before Beckett
bunted into a forceout. Ellsbury got Boston’s first hit of the game
after that and then stole second base. Lyles walked Pedroia but
escaped the inning when Gonzalez hit a long fly ball to Bourn.
Beckett allowed a pair of singles with one out in the first
inning before retiring the next 11. Houston’s next hit came on
Wallace’s double to start Houston’s fifth.
Houston rookie starter Jordan Lyles allowed three hits and a run
with five strikeouts in five innings, but did not factor in the
decision. Lyles, who at 20 is the youngest player in the majors,
remains winless in seven starts.
Notes: Houston’s lone representative to the game is right
fielder Hunter Pence. He was also selected in 2009, but didn’t get
on the field. ”It would be very nice to get in the game,” he
said. ”Last time I went in ’09 and didn’t get to play, it’s kind
of an empty feeling a little bit.” … Pedroia has reached base
safely in 17 straight games.