HOUSTON — The Boston Red Sox erased a five-run deficit behind an offensive onslaught for a 15-10 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Boston (69-46) matched its 2012 win total by slugging its way out of a 5-0 hole. The top four batters in the Red Sox order — Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz — paced the comeback, finishing a combined 11-for-18 with 11 runs, seven RBIs and four walks.
The Astros (37-75) blanked the Red Sox 2-0 in the series opener Monday night behind a strong bullpen performance. Houston relievers proved less effective in the middle game of this three-game series as Dallas Keuchel and Jose Cisnero combined to surrender seven earned runs on five hits and four walks while recording just three outs.
The Red Sox sent nine batters to the plate in both the fifth and sixth innings and scored five runs in each frame to flip a 7-3 deficit into a 13-7 lead. Ellsbury sandwiched a pair of home runs around leadoff walks in the fifth and sixth; Ortiz went 4-for-4 with four singles and two RBIs.
Despite allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings, Boston right-hander Brandon Workman (2-1) earned the win in relief.
What was a nightmarish first inning for Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway was later forgotten, thanks to one timely swing of the bat.
Lavarnway was charged with four passed balls in the first while attempting to corral the knuckleball of right-hander Steven Wright, who was making his first career start. Houston managed three runs on one hit while Lavarnway and Wright struggled, and the Astros’ lead ballooned to 5-0 in the second when Robbie Grossman belted a two-run home run off Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman.
But Boston scored thrice in the third inning and chased Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles with a five-run fifth. And Lavarnway, who joined Geno Petralli and Ray Katt as the only catchers in major league history to be charged with four passed balls in one frame, struck the decisive blow. He drilled a two-run double to left-center field that lifted Boston to an 8-7 lead and sent Lyles to the showers.
Lyles squandered leads of 5-0 and 7-3 by allowing eight runs on nine hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. He was charged with a wild pitch and plunked a batter en route to his methodical collapse.
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (neck strain) threw off a mound Tuesday, the first time he has done so since mid-July. He tossed 27 pitches at roughly 60-65 percent effort. Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA) last appeared in a major league game June 8. … The Astros feature the youngest roster in the majors with an average age of 25.7. The 13 rookies on the current roster are the most in the majors.
WHITE SOX 3, YANKEES 2: In his second game of the season, Alex Rodriguez saw his personal stats improve, but his team’s result remained the same.
Rodriguez singled and reached base three times Tuesday night in the New York Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
On Monday, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, a punishment he will appeal. Rodriguez, who activated from the disabled list Monday after sitting out due to hip surgery and then a quadriceps injury, was once again lustily booed before each plate appearance at U.S. Cellular Field.
After going 1-for-4 Monday as the cleanup hitter, Rodriguez batted third and went 1-for-2 Tuesday as New York’s designated hitter. In the first inning, he walked against Chris Sale. Then in his next plate appearance, which came with two outs in the third, Rodriguez was hit by a Sale pitch. With one out in the fifth, Rodriguez lined out sharply to center. Then to lead off the eighth, Rodriguez singled between short and third.
Rodriguez was one of the few Yankees who did much against Sale (7-11). The White Sox lefty, who was 1-9 with a 3.23 ERA over his previous 11 starts, threw 7 1/3 innings and gave up five hits and one run while striking out six. He held down a Yankees team that has scored three runs or fewer in seven straight games.
New York cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2 with two outs in the ninth on Brett Gardner’s single, but Addison Reed picked up his 27th save in 32 tries when he struck out Alfonso Soriano with Rodriguez on deck.
Conor Gillaspie, Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza drove in runs for Chicago, which has won the first two games of the series after losing 10 games in a row.
Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) pitched strong innings and gave up a season-high nine hits and three runs, but he couldn’t help the Yankees avoid their third straight loss. He had been 3-0 in his previous five starts.
The Yankees (57-55) dropped to 6-11 since the All-Star break and to two games above .500 for the first time since April 24, when they were 11-9.
TIGERS 5, INDIANS 1: The Detroit Tigers have found that the best way to keep the Cleveland Indians from closing the gap in the Central Division race is to keep playing Cleveland.
The Tigers continued their dominance of the Indians on Tuesday night with a 5-1 victory, Detroit’s 10th win in a row.
Don Kelly’s three-run home run capped a five-run fifth inning and Justin Verlander pitched eight dominating innings to lead the way for the division-leading Tigers, who extended their lead over second-place Cleveland to five games.
The Tigers, who have won the first two games of this four-game series, are 11-3 vs. the Indians this season and have won 14 of the last 18 meetings.
“Every game is a big game, especially against the guys that are chasing us,” Verlander said. “They’ve been playing extremely good, and so have we. We know it’s going to be a battle this series and it’s not over yet, but obviously winning the first two is a great start.”
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said momentum is overrated.
“There’s no such thing as momentum in baseball. I don’t believe in that,” he said. “I believe whoever pitched the best tonight was going to win the game, and Verlander pitched the best.”
The game was a battle of aces, although, as Cleveland manager Terry Francona pointed out before the game, “Detroit has four aces. That’s why they are so good.”
Verlander outpitched Cleveland’s Justin Masterson, although
Masterson (13-8) had only one bad inning. In the six other innings, he held the Tigers scoreless on three hits.
Verlander (12-8) gave up a run in the second inning and dominated Cleveland hitters the rest of the way. He pitched eight innings, holding Cleveland to one run on four hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“We had a couple of chances against him but then he found another gear, which we’ve seen in the past,” Francona said. “When he hits 100 (mph) at the knees and then throws in that breaking ball, that’s tough.”
Leyland said, “He went after it real good tonight. You can’t go after it much better than that. I thought he was absolutely terrific.”
During their 10-game winning streak, Tigers pitchers have allowed a total of 13 runs.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Michael
Brantley, hitting.417 vs. Verlander, singled and then scored on an infield groundout.
TWINS 7, ROYALS 0: Andrew Albers pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings in his major-league debut and Brian Dozier had three RBIs as visiting Minnesota defeated Kansas City.
Dozier, Justin Morneau and Chris Colabello each hit homers as the Twins beat the Royals for just the fourth time in 15 meetings this season. The loss was just the second in the last 14 overall games for Kansas City.
The 27-year-old Albers (1-0) gave up four hits, one walk and struck out two while keeping the hot-hitting Royals off-balance most of the contest. Albers tired in the ninth and was removed after two runners reached base.
Dozier led off the game with a homer to left off James Shields (6-8) and Morneau added a two-run blast to right later in the inning. Dozier delivered a sacrifice fly in the second and Colabello increased the lead to 5-0 in the fourth with a blast to right-center field.
Dozier also had a run-scoring single in the seventh.
METS 3, ROCKIES 2: Juan Lagares hit a two-run triple in the first inning Tuesday night and delivered a tie-breaking RBI infield single in the eighth inning to lift the New York Mets to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies in front of 27,198 at Citi Field.
The Mets (50-60) snapped a two-game losing streak. They haven’t lost three in a row since June 13-15.
The Rockies (52-62) lost their third in a row and for the seventh time in their last eight games overall.
Lagares was 2-for-4 while Ike Davis reached base in all four plate appearances via two doubles and two walks (one intentional).
Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores, who was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier in the day and made his major league debut on his 22nd birthday, went 0-for-4 with an error. Flores is expected to play regularly at third base while David Wright is on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
Scott Atchison (2-0) earned the win by working around a leadoff walk in the eighth. LaTroy Hawkins gave up two two-out singles but earned his first save after retiring pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba on a lineout to first. Mets closer Bobby Parnell was placed on the DL earlier in the day.
Young, whom the Mets acquired from the Rockies on June 18, began the winning rally by singling to left off Wilton Lopez (1-4). Daniel Murphy and Marlon Byrd each flied out, with Young taking second on Byrd’s fly out.
After an intentional walk to Davis, Lagares hit a 2-2 pitch just beyond the grasp of Lopez. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu charged and threw to first, but Lagares beat the throw by a step. Young never slowed down rounding third and hit another gear as he raced towards home. He slid in well ahead of the throw from Todd Helton.
Nolan Arenado had a sacrifice fly in the fifth while Charlie Blackmon delivered a pinch-hit homer in the sixth for the Rockies.
The game was delayed 15 minutes prior to Blackmon’s homer after home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez was hit in the jaw by a foul ball. Two pitches after play resumed, Blackmon hit the homer.
Mets starter Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed just two hits through the first five innings before surrendering Blackmon’s leadoff homer in the sixth and later exiting with the bases loaded.
Carlos Torres got out of the jam with some help from Young, who made a diving catch of Helton’s sinking liner to end the inning and save at least two runs from scoring.
Chad Bettis, who made the emergency start for the Rockies after Tyler Chatwood was scratched because of left hamstring tightness, allowed two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out two over five innings. Bettis gave up both runs in the first before but settled down and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced, including the last seven in a row.
The Mets jumped on Bettis with two runs in the first. Daniel Murphy singled with one out and was forced at second on Marlon Byrd’s grounder to third. Davis followed with his first double and Lagares drove both runners home by tripling into the gap in right centerfield.
The Rockies scored an unearned run in the fifth when Wilin Rosario singled and went to third when Davis misplayed a one-hopper by Helton. Arenado followed with a sacrifice fly but Murphy made a nice diving stop of DJ LeMahieu’s grounder and turned the 4-6-3 double play.