Betts' eighth-inning homer leads Red Sox over Astros, 2-1

Betts' eighth-inning homer leads Red Sox over Astros, 2-1

HOUSTON - Mookie Betts showed off his defense and offense Friday night.

Betts nailed George Springer at the plate to end the sixth before giving the Red Sox the lead for good two innings later.

Betts hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, sending the Boston Red Sox over the Houston Astros 2-1.

"Home run came at a big time, but I think more fun, probably the throw," Betts said. "You don't get those opportunities very much. For me to be successful that time, is definitely something I take pride in."

Betts hit his team-leading 12th homer, and third in three games. He led off with a drive into the Crawford Boxes in left field, connecting against Will Harris (2-2).

"He cuts down a run to finish the sixth, then the first pitch thrown in eighth, he gives us the lead," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Just in a small snapshot, there's Mookie's skill set on both sides of the ball. He's a dynamic player. Those throws aren't just by coincidence. The work he puts in, he throws a strike from right field at a key point in the game right there."

Houston manager A.J. Hinch said it was an aggressive send to wave Springer, who was easily tagged out at home in the sixth.

"Getting thrown out like that at that distance you're betting on a mistake," Hinch said. "It was a one-hopper bullet hit right at Betts. Betts makes a nice throw and they make the play."

Brian McCann tied it for Houston in the seventh, homering into the upper deck in right field off Drew Pomeranz.

Joe Kelly (3-0) got two outs for the win. He retired Norichika Aoki on a liner to third with runners on second and third to end the seventh.

Craig Kimbrel threw a perfect ninth for his 19th save.

Mitch Moreland gave Boston a 1-0 lead with a single in the third that drove in Betts.

Pomeranz allowed four hits and struck out four in 6 1/3 innings. He rebounded nicely after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start.

"I think my fastball location was a little better," Pomeranz said. "The breaking stuff was a little sharper, and I was a little more accurate with it. I think that goes a long way when I can place those where I want."

Mike Fiers allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts in seven innings. He set down his final 10 batters.

"I was locked in all game; I felt really good. Just another game of getting ahead in the count and being the aggressor," Fiers said. "Not letting these guys get in too many hitters' counts and putting them away as early as you can and not try to go deep into the at-bat."

The right-hander continued his string of good outings, allowing two runs or less in each of his last four starts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup Friday with a muscle spasm in his neck. . Moreland is playing through a fractured big toe on his left foot. . RHP Carson Smith (Tommy John) will not make his scheduled rehab start Sunday due shoulder inflammation, Farrell said.

Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (right lat strain) and RHP Collin McHugh (right elbow) each threw bullpen sessions. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel (neck discomfort) and RHP Lance McCullers (lower back discomfort) could begin playing catch soon, Hinch said. Hinch said he hopes to have them start a throwing program as early as this weekend. . OF Josh Reddick (concussion) resumed baseball activities Friday, Hinch said.

HE SAID IT

"We knew coming in here this is going to be a strong test, a strong challenge. To pitch like we did tonight in their home ballpark, that was encouraging." - Farrell on facing the Astros, who have the best record in the Majors.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-8) makes his 15th start of the season Saturday looking to break a three-game losing streak and rebound after giving up 11 runs over his last two starts.

Astros: RHP David Paulino (0-0) will make his fourth start this season Saturday looking to bounce back after being tagged for five runs in four innings in his last outing.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.