One day after recording just three hits, the Sox offense blew open on Friday at Minute Maid Park, tallying 12 hits en route to an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros. It was their third win in a row after taking the final two games of their four-game set at Fenway with the Chicago White Sox.
John Lackey went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts, earning his 10th win of the year. Scott Feldman took the loss for Houston after giving up seven runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Christian Vazquez put together a very impressive offensive showing in just his second big league game, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, including two that put the Red Sox up by four in the top of the sixth. Three batters after Vazquez made it 5-1, David Ortiz cleared the bases with a double to right center that scored three and gave the Sox an 8-1 advantage.
The Red Sox scored twice in the top of the third on an RBI triple by Brock Holt, who was then knocked in on a double by Dustin Pedroia to put the Red Sox up 2-0. They made it 3-0 with two outs in the top of the fourth as Stephen Drew hit a triple to center and scored on an RBI ground rule double by Vazquez.
Houston got on the board with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Jon Singleton scored from second on a single up the middle by Enrique Hernandez. They scored their second and third runs on solo shots by Chris Carter: one in the sixth off Lackey and one in the eighth off Craig Breslow.
MVP: Christian Vazquez
In just the 23-year-old’s second game with the Red Sox, he went 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Not bad for a player who 48 hours ago had never played a major league baseball game in his life.
GOAT: Astros Replay Team
On a close play in the bottom of the third that saw Xander Bogaerts throw out Jose Altuve at first base for the second out in the bottom of the third, replays seemed to show Altuve may have been safe, but Astros manager Bo Porter appeared to not get enough info in time to challenge the play.
If the call had been overturned, Houston would have had runners at first and second with one out, instead of a runner on second with two outs, and could have potentially rallied to take the lead, as they were trailing by only two at the time.
ICYMI: With the Sox up 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Marwin Gonzalez tried to bunt his way on, but Lackey fielded the ball and in one motion made a diving flip to Mike Carp at first for the out.
QUOTE OF THE GAME:
Lackey on Vazquez: "He's awesome. Really catches the ball well. Really sticks the low pitch."— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 12, 2014
NUMBERS TO KNOW: In his second MLB game, Vazquez became the fastest Red Sox player to have a three-hit, three-RBI game in his career since Sam Horn did the same in 1987…After Friday’s game, Dustin Pedroia is 27-for-56 in his career against the Astros and 20-for-42 at Minute Maid Park…With the win, Lackey improved to 2-1 in four career starts against the Astros…His five walks were the most he allowed in a single start this season, having walked more than two batters in a game just twice before Friday.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Red Sox improved to 42-51 with the win, nine games under .500 for the first time since July 5 when they lost the second of a day-night doubleheader to the Orioles. With the Orioles beating the Yankees 3-2 and the Blue Jays handling the Rays 8-5, the Sox moved a game ahead of Tampa Bay for last place in the AL East; they trail Baltimore by 9.5 games for first place in the division. With a win on Saturday, the Sox can win a series for the first time since they took two of three from the Yankees from June 28-30.
LOOKING AHEAD: Jake Peavy is scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox on Saturday, going into the game with a 1-7 record and a 4.64 ERA in 18 starts for the Sox this season. He went six innings his last start, allowing one earned run on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts, a game the Sox would end up losing to the Orioles 7-6.
Going for the Astros will be lefthander Brett Oberholtzer, who is 2-7 in 2014 with a 4.66 ERA in 11 starts. He last pitched on July 3, going 6 1/3 innings in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing three earned runs on nine hits with three walks and four K’s.