With actor and Astros fan Matthew McConaughey in the house at Fenway, things were not alright, alright, alright for the sloppy Red Sox on Sunday.
The Astros exploded for six runs in the second inning on route to an 8-1 thrashing of the Sox in the series finale and a controversial call gave Houston the opportunity to tack on four runs off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly in a six run second inning. And that was the ballgame.
In the top of the second, the first four Astros reached base and Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had trouble with a fly ball off the bat of Marc Krauss, losing sight of the ball that landed on the warning track behind the Sox left fielder. Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Cespedes lost the ball right off the bat of Krauss due to glare. The result was an RBI single for Krauss.
With the score 2-0 Astros in the second, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts appeared to have put out the fire with an inning-ending double play after Marwin Gonzalez hit a hard grounder to Bogaerts who was moving toward second base for the force out and threw to first for what appeared to be a DP to get the Sox out of the inning. But Houston manager Bo Porter challenged the play arguing that Bogaerts had thrown the ball to first base before touching the second base bag. After the review, the umpire ruled the runner safe at second base.
After Kelly walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases, second baseman Jose Altuve — the major league’s best hitter — crushed a 1-0 slider for a grand slam into the Monster seats, blowing the game open for Houston with the 6-0 lead.
After the grand slam by Altuve, Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue the Bogaerts replay challenge and he was ejected from the game. Farrell did not think the call was reviewable because of the “neighborhood play” that allows middle infielders to protect themselves by getting out of the way of hard-charging runners, and not necessarily touch the base while holding the ball. The replay center in New York ruled that the the play was reviewable because the play started with a race to the second base bag.
“I explained to Bo that I was going to ask New York, the replay center, if it was in fact reviewable because a neighborhood play is not,” crew chief Jim Joyce said after the game. “New York came back to me and said, ‘Yes, that play is reviewable’ and I came back to them and said, OK, Houston is challenging the play’ and that was the outcome.”
In the third, Kelly gave up a leadoff homer to Dexter Fowler, making it 7-0 ‘Stros.
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly made his Fenway Park debut and it wasn’t pretty. Kelly matched his career high by giving up seven runs in four innings, walking six Astros hitters in the process. Before picking up the loss today, Kelly had allowed just three runs in 13 innings pitched on the road since being acquired from the Cardinals.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright — who was recalled from Pawtucket before the game — came on in the top of the sixth inning for his 2014 Red Sox debut, throwing four innings of one run ball out of the bullpen.
Jose Altuve belted his first career grand slam into the Monster seats in left to blow the game open. Altuve went 4-for-5 on the day for his major league leading 53rd multi-hit game of the season. Altuve also leads the majors in hits (173) and average (.339).
Daniel Nava cost the Red Sox the possibility of a big inning on the third when the Sox got a run back but missed an opportunity to get back in the game. Nava made a base running gaffe and was tagged out in a rundown after straying too far past second base on an RBI double when he had no shot of making it to third base. The Red Sox put two more runners on base but Kelly Johnson and Bogaerts could not knock them in and the Red Sox came away with the lone score in what could have been a comeback rally.
John Farrell was tossed from the game in the second inning by first base umpire Doug Eddings after arguing the review of the controversial call that was overturned. “They told me they were allowed to challenge the play — an explanation contradicts what took place on the field,” Farrell said. “The front end of the play should not be reviewable at second base regardless of how it comes about… New York determined it could be reviewed, challenged, and overturned.”
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I went to far with my reaction.” — Farrell on getting ejected from a game for the third time this season.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
Brock Holt went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run today and has now hit safely in 11 straight games, a career high… Will Middlebrooks had his first multi-hit game since April 25, going 2-for-4 on the day… Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-3 with a walk today, his 18th multi-hit game of the season and first since July 25 at Tampa Bay… On his 31st birthday, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed today’s game with flu-like symptoms. Before flu-like symptoms forced Pedroia to miss Sunday’s game, the Sox second baseman had been hitting .358/.388/.457 in his last eight games.
WHAT IT MEANS
With the loss on Sunday, the last place Red Sox split the four game series with the Astros and fall to 56-67 on the season, 14 games off the pace in the AL East. The Sox are 11 games out of a wild card spot with seven teams ahead of them.
The hard charging Los Angeles Angels come to town for four games at Fenway Park starting Monday. The Angels are in a dogfight with the Athletics for first place in the AL West and baseball’s best record. On Monday, Brandon Workman (1-6) will face the Angels C.J. Wilson (9-8). On Tuesday, it’s Allen Webster (3-1) vs. veteran Jared Weaver (13-7). On Wednesday, it’s Clay Buchholz (5-7) vs. the Angels best starter Garrett Richards (13-4) who is sporting a team-best 2.53 ER. The series concludes Thursday when Rubby De La Rosa (4-4) faces Matt Shoemaker (11-4).