For six innings, the situation looked bleak for the Astros Friday. David Price had handcuffed Houston to one hit - a Yuli Gurriel single in the second. But the Astros pounced on the Boston bullpen for three runs in each of the seventh and eighth to grab a 6-3 series opening win in Fenway that ensures they'll still have a game lead over Oakland in the A.L. West when they leave Beantown. The triumph was Houston's sixth straight.
Kemp: Triple keyed first rally
(c) Associated Press
If you like strikeouts, Fenway was your place. Price fanned ten in 6-1/3rd while Gerrit Cole whiffed eight in six. All told, there were 22 strikeouts, divided evenly between the two squads.
Mookie Betts singled in the first and eventually scored on J.D. Martinez' sacrifice fly then Xander Bogaerts drilled a home run to dead center in the fourth to give the Sawx a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Alex Bregman poked a double down the left field line to open the seventh. One out later, Tyler White walked. That was all for Price and Boston called on Ryan Brasier to protect their lead. Gurriel stroked a double to center that plated Bregman. Gurriel sprawled all around second on the throw back to the infield but somehow managed to keep contact with the base the whole time.
After a foul out, Tony Kemp pinch-hit for Martin Maldonado. He took ball three and flipped his bat then began to trot to first until he was called back. With unfinished business, Kemp then whipped a double inside the left field line that got White and Gurriel home for a 3-2 advantage.
Boston roared back with two walks then Martinez, the former Astro, singled to left to tie the game again at three.
Houston broke it open in the eighth. George Springer and Jose Altuve singled before Bregman loaded the bases with nobody out on a base hit. Carlos Correa lofted a sacrifice fly to put Houston ahead then reliever Joe Kelly uncorked a wild pitch that bounced away from the catcher. Altuve scored then White sent a line drive single to left for the final run.
Hector Rondon and Roberto Osuna closed out the last two innings with Osuna posting his 14th save.
Charlie Morton (13-3) makes his return from the disabled list Saturday when he pitches in an afternoon telecast that will be seen on national television on FS1. Lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez (12-3) gets the start for Boston. The first pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. Central time.
The Astros also announced that the fifth rotation spot will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For now, fastballer Josh James will go to the bullpen until the next time he is needed,
- Bob Hulsey