HOUSTON (AP) — Carlos Correa capped a May to forget with a big hit that helped the Houston Astros to a win.
Correa snapped an 0 for 10 slump with a two-run homer in the first, and Tony Kemp and Jake Marisnick each had an RBI in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.
Correa’s home run ended a month during which he hit just .192 after batting .315 in April.
“May wasn’t the best month for me, but it’s not like I’ve never been here before,” he said. “I’ve struggled before for a month and it’s a long season. So today was a big stride with that first at-bat. Hopefully I can keep it up and have a great June.”
Houston starter Lance McCullers (7-3) allowed four hits and two runs in six innings to help the Astros to the victory in this rematch of last year’s ALDS, which Houston won in four games.
Ken Giles gave up a single to Sandy Leon with two outs in the ninth before walking Jackie Bradley Jr., but Marisnick grabbed a fly ball hit by Blake Swihart to end it and give Giles his 10th save.
The game was tied at 2 when J.D. Davis singled to start Houston’s fourth. Tim Federowicz hit a ground-rule double with one out before Davis barely beat the throw home to score on a single by Kemp to put Houston up 3-2.
The Red Sox challenged the play, but it was upheld. Marisnick followed with a bunt that allowed Federowicz to score and the Astros to push the lead to 4-2.
The victory snapped a three-game winning streak for the Red Sox, who at 39-18 still have baseball’s best record.
Boston’s Drew Pomeranz (1-4) allowed six hits and four runs in five innings after failing to pitch longer than four innings in his past three starts.
He recalled that Correa hit a similar home run off him in Game 2 of the ALDS.
“I obviously didn’t get the results that I wanted (Thursday), but I just made a couple of bad pitches,” Pomeranz said. “I made a dumb pitch to Correa. He did the same thing to me in the playoffs, basically in the same spot.”
The Red Sox were without Mookie Betts, who missed his fifth straight game with soreness on his left side, and Dustin Pedroia, who was scratched just before the game with a sore left knee. Pedroia has played just three games this season while recovering from knee surgery in October and manager Alex Cora said he’ll likely sit out on Friday as well.
“He’s going to have good days and bad days … hopefully, he feels better (Friday) and can play over the weekend,” Cora said.
Alex Bregman walked with one out before Correa’s shot to left field made it 2-0 in the first inning.
McCullers was shaken up in the second inning when he and Rafael Devers had a collision when the pitcher went to cover first base after Devers hit a groundball.
Devers tripped over the foot of McCullers and went tumbling to the ground in a crash that also sent McCullers falling into the dirt.
Both players got up after a couple of minutes and McCullers remained in the game after a couple of warmup pitches.
Bradley got Boston’s first hit with a double to start the third inning. Andrew Benintendi walked with one out before the double by Xander Bogaerts scored them both to tie it at 2.
Red Sox: Cora doesn’t think Betts will need to go on the disabled list. He said he was doing better on Thursday and thinks he’ll be able to return sometime during this series which ends on Sunday.
Astros: OF Josh Reddick, who is on the disabled list with an infection in his left knee, took early batting practice on Thursday, but isn’t expected to return during this series. Manager A.J. Hinch said Reddick could be back for the start of Tuesday’s series against Seattle, but he could need a few more days to recover. “I like where he’s at,” Hinch said. “I like the fact that he’s starting to do baseball activities … and he sounds like he’s feeling better.”
Picking up the hardware
Cora and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson, who were both on Houston’s staff last season before joining the Red Sox, picked up their World Series rings in a pregame ceremony. Cora was thrilled to have his daughter at the ballpark on Thursday to be with him when he received the ring. “It’s beautiful, by the way,” he added.
Boston’s Chris Sale (5-2, 2.76 ERA) looks to bounce back from his previous start in which he allowed a season-high six runs in 4 1/3 innings when he opposes Gerrit Cole (5-1, 2.05) on Saturday night. Cole, who leads the American League with 109 strikeouts, did not factor into the decision in his previous start after the Astros blew the lead late in a 10-9 loss to Cleveland in 14 innings.