Drew's 3-run HR in 9th saves Sox in Houston

Drew's 3-run HR in 9th saves Sox in Houston
August 8, 2013, 12:15 am
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HOUSTON – There are few games or series in a season a team can look at in advance and figure they have wins in the bank. Still, given the standings, the Red Sox easily could have done that with this three-game set in Houston. It was the team with the best record in the American League visiting the team with the worst record in baseball.
 
The Sox didn’t take the easy route to it, but they managed to pull out a 7-5 victory on Stephen Drew’s three-run homer in the ninth Wednesday night, giving them the series win as well. The Sox improved to 18-7 in games decided in their last at-bat.
 
Josh Fields, the Rule 5 pick the Astros got from the Red Sox in December, earned his first career save Monday night. On Wednesday, he entered the ninth looking to double that total. Instead, he came out with the loss.
 
With the Sox trailing by a run in the ninth, David Ortiz led off with a single, his fourth of the night.  With the  bench depleted – after Shane Victorino’s seventh-inning ejection -- left-handed pitcher Drake Britton entered to pinch run for Ortiz. With one out, Jonny Gomes walked, bringing up Drew, who crushed on 0-and-1 pitch from Fields into the right field seats, giving the Sox a 7-5 lead.
 
Junichi Tazawa earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief of Ryan Dempster, who  went six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and no walks, with seven strikeouts, one home run, and a wild pitch. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save, giving up a hit with three strikeouts.
 
Astros right-hander Jarrod Cosart started, going five innings, giving up two runs on seven this and five walks with three strikeouts.  He was not involved in the decision. Josh Zeid got the win, going one inning, giving up two runs on two hits with no walks and a strikeout.
 
The Sox scored first, with single runs in the second and third innings.  The Sox improved to 46-9 when scoring first.
 
The Astros tied the score in the third on Robbie Grossman’s two-run homer.
 
Houston added three runs in the sixth when Grossman led off with a double, taking third on a wild pitch by Dempster. He scored on Jose Altuve's one-out single off the glove of third baseman Brock Holt. Altuve scored on Jason Castro’s double to right field, with Castro taking third on the throw home. Marc Krauss’ sacrifice fly scored Castro.
 
The Sox cut the lead to one in the seventh on Jonny Gomes’ two-run home run, scoring Mike Carp, who had singled, ahead of him.
 
Victorino was ejected in the seventh, for arguing with third base umpire Brian Knight, who called him out on a checked swing to end the sixth. The ejection set up an odd maneuver of bringing Britton in to pinch-run in the ninth.  With the bench stretched, after Victorino's ejection – and Brandon Snyder pinch-hitting for Brock Holt in the seventh --  Mike Napoli, who had been given the night off, went in at first, with Carp moving from first to left, and Gomes moving from right to left. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway was the only player left on the bench.

STAR OF THE GAME: Stephen Drew
Drew went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in the ninth inning, giving the Sox the lead. The home run, his ninth, was his first go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later since 2008.
 
HONORABLE MENTION: David Ortiz
Ortiz went 4-for-5. He led off the ninth with his fourth single of the game, with Drake Britton entering to pinch run for him. Britton scored on Drew’s three-run homer. Ortiz reached base safely in 10 straight plate appearances from his third plate appearance on Monday through his third on Wednesday, before ending the streak by lining out in the eighth inning.
 
In the series, Ortiz went 9-for-12 with eight singles and two walks. In seven games against the Astros this season, he hit .630, going 17-for-27, with two doubles, two home runs, and 10 RBI.
 
GOAT  OF THE GAME: Josh Fields
After earning his first career save on Monday in the first game of the series, Fields took the loss Wednesday.  He had a one-run lead to start the ninth, but gave up a lead-off single to Ortiz, with Britton pinch-running, and a one-out walk to Jonny Gomes, before Drew’s blast gave the Sox the lead.
 
THE TURNING POINT: With two one and one out in the ninth inning, Drew hit his ninth homer, giving  the Sox the lead, and their 18th win in games decided in their last at-bat this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox won their 70th game. They won 69 all of last season.
 
QUOTE OF NOTE: “Credit to Houston. They pushed us to the hilt in this three-game series. And just proud of the way we continued to fight back and show a lot of character, a lot of grit.”  -- Red Sox manager John Farrell