Red Sox

4 takeaways as Astros avoid Red Sox sweep behind Trey Mancini’s homer

The Red Sox dropped the final game of a three-game series.

Red Sox Astros
Trey Mancini of the Houston Astros receives high five from Mauricio Dubon after hitting a two run home run. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros side-stepped a series sweep in their final regular-season matchup against the Red Sox with a 6-1 victory on Wednesday.

Here’s what happened.

The Big Picture

The Baseball Savant Game Win Probability chart dipped down into Astros territory early and kept falling toward 100 percent throughout the afternoon. Red Sox starter Rich Hill gave up a leadoff single to José Altuve to open the game, followed by a double by Jeremy Peña. As a result, the first two outs of the game — an RBI grounder by Yordan Álvarez and a sacrifice fly by Alex Bregman — each cost a run.

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In the second, the Astros continued piling on when Trey Mancini blasted a two-run homer to left. Hill was already at 71 pitches and threw just one more inning before handing the ball off to Brayan Bello. Bello went just one inning before leaving with a left groin strain.

The Astros wrapped up their offensive production in the fifth inning with a two-run double by Kyle Tucker. The six runs were more than enough — the Red Sox finally recorded their first run in the top of the ninth when Xander Bogaerts hit his ninth homer of the season (and his second in the last seven days).

Star of the Game

José Urquidy – 7 innings, two hits, 10 strikeouts, zero walks, zero runs

A masterful pitching performance by Urquidy, who took a no-hitter into the top of the sixth inning before Reese McGuire singled and Tommy Pham doubled to break it up. Urquidy finished with a whiff percentage of 30, mixing his fastball, slider, and changeup to fool the Red Sox.

What It Means

The Red Sox helped themselves in the wild card standings with their recent three-game winning streak, but they dropped a game further behind both the Orioles and White Sox on Wednesday.

Takeaways

1. The Astros — who are 68-38 this season — are going for it with the addition of Mancini, and the players look appropriately excited (which is an interesting contrast to the reactions from Red Sox players post-trade deadline, even though they didn’t sell).

Mancini was still buzzing about getting his first Astros hit after the game.

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“It was a great feeling, one of the better moments of my baseball career for sure,” Mancini said enthusiastically in his post-game interview. “I was really excited. I’m so happy to be here, and the fans have treated me so nicely and so great the last couple days. … Obviously I have such a deep fondness for Baltimore and the fans there and I always will, but to be welcomed with open arms here, it was such a cool moment.”

2. It might not look like it, but the Red Sox nearly made a little noise in the ninth. Rafael Devers led off the inning with a 337-foot fly out to the wall in left that nearly hit the wall. Bogaerts followed with his solo homer. Then Alex Verdugo hit a tough liner to left that Astros center fielder Mauricio Dubón pursued and snagged with a phenomenal catch.

The Red Sox probably weren’t going to record six runs in a single frame, but they missed a much more interesting ninth by inches — twice.

3. In his debut, new Red Sox catcher Reese McGuire was the lone Red Sox player to record a pair of hits — two singles as he went 2-for-3. The second single was a deep drive with a 104.9 exit velocity that bounded off the wall so fast, McGuire had to stay at first.

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“Everyone has done a great job around here, players and staff, giving me as much information as they can,” McGuire told NESN’s Tom Caron after the game. “Now just trying to soak it all up.”

Pham, meanwhile, recorded a hit in his second consecutive game as a member of the Red Sox with his sixth-inning double. Per Alex Cora, Pham will officially take Jackie Bradley Jr.’s place starting in the outfield along with Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo.

4. Bello was pitching well before leaving the game due to his groin issue.

“He felt something in the groin area and got treatment after the game,” Cora told NESN. “We’ll know a little more tomorrow.”

The Red Sox now travel to Kansas City for a four-game series against the Royals before returning to Boston next week to take on the Braves.

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