Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

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Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- For six innings, the Red Sox, with their bats silent, seemed headed for another embarrassing loss to an inferior National League team.

Then came the comeback.

The Red Sox rallied for six runs in the seventh inning and stole a 7-5 win from the Houston Astros.

Dustin Pedroia hit a cue shot to right with the bases loaded to tie the game and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a two-run double to left-center, giving the Red Sox their first
lead since the top of the first when Marco Scutaro led off the game with a home run.

Astros starter Bud Norris shut the Sox down after Scutaro's homer and didn't allow a second hit until J.D. Drew's leadoff single in the fateful seventh.

After Tim Wakefield was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in 5 13 innings, five Red Sox relievers combined to shut out Houston for the final 3 23 innings.

The victory was the second in a row for the Sox, marking their first time they'd won consecutive games since June 19-20.

STAR OF THE GAME: Adrian Gonzalez

There's a reason Gonzalez leads the majors in RBI this season.

After looking overmatched in his first three at-bats (two strikeouts and a double play), Gonzalez used his patented inside-out swing to drill a two-run double to left field as part of the Red Sox' six-run seventh inning.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia was on base three times, but his best at-bat came in the seventh, right before Gonzalez put the Sox up by two.

With the bases loaded, Pedroia hit a cue shot in between first baseman Brett Wallace and the first-base bag, scoring two runs and giving the Red Sox a fresh start with their 5-5 tie.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Sergio Escalona

After Houston starter Bud Norris tired, Brad Mills went to his bullpen -- with disastrous results.

Escalona was the first (and worst) culprit. First he gave up a rocket that ate up shortstop Clint Barmes. Then, he managed to hit Darnell McDonald (hitting all of .115 at the time), loading the bases and leading to Pedroia's and Gonzalez's heroics.

TURNING POINT: When Escalona hit the light-hitting McDonald,

It loaded the bases, extended the inning, forced Brad Mills to make another pitching change and gave the Sox the opportunity to complete their comeback.

BY THE NUMBERS: 74
The Red Sox have scored 74 runs in the seventh inning this season; no other team in Major League Baseball has more than 47.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"We bailed ourselves out of that miserable start and we certainly have a long way to go. But we're playing better.'' -- Terry Francona assessing the Red Sox season at the halfway point.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.