Bogaerts homers twice as Sox beat Astros, pull into tie for first

Bogaerts homers twice as Sox beat Astros, pull into tie for first

HOUSTON -- David Price wasn't great on Sunday night, and he didn't have to be. The best strike Boston threw to home plate came from left field, anyway.

Xander Bogaerts went deep twice for the first multihomer game of his career and had four RBIs, Andrew Benintendi threw out a runner trying to score and the Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 6-5.

Bogaerts had just two homers entering Sunday's game. He ended an 0-for-14 skid when he connected off Joe Musgrove (4-6) to make it 1-0 with two outs in the first inning.

A two-run shot by Bogaerts in the sixth put the Red Sox up 3-2. Jackie Bradley Jr. added a two-run double later that inning.

The Astros cut the lead to 6-5 on an RBI single by Carlos Beltran with one out in the eighth inning. Jose Altuve was thrown out at home on that play by Benintendi , and then Yuli Gurriel struck out looking to end the inning and was ejected after arguing the call.

An inning later, catcher Christian Vazquez caught Houston's Derek Fisher stealing to end the game.

"Bogey offensively is the difference in this one, but our ability to throw the baseball on the defensive side is what preserved this win tonight," manager John Farrell said.

Price (2-1) got the win despite tying a season high by allowing eight hits with three runs and three walks in five-plus innings.

Price was asked to evaluate how he's pitched in the five games since coming off the disabled list on May 29.

"It's just been terrible," he said. "It's been bad. It's not me. I can throw the baseball better. That's the bottom line."

Houston pulled within 5-4 with homers from Jake Marisnick and George Springer in the sixth, but an RBI single by Bogaerts added an insurance run in the seventh.

Boston tied the New York Yankees atop the A.L. East. Craig Kimbrel allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his 20th save.

James Hoyt plunked Mookie Betts in the right knee with one out in the seventh before hitting Dustin Pedroia in the back with a pitch. That caused home plate umpire Greg Gibson to issue warnings to both benches as Pedroia glared and yelled at Hoyt. Both managers came onto the field as Pedroia continue to scream and pointed at the mound before calming down and heading to first base.

Pedroia left the game in the bottom of the ninth and Farrell said the second baseman was getting X-rays at a local hospital after the game.

Betts was hit by a ball on his right elbow diving back to second base later in the inning and was favoring it the rest of the game.

Carlos Correa, Marisnick and Springer each hit a solo homer for the Astros, who went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position and lost for the fifth time in seven games.

"They took advantage of almost all of their opportunities and we struggled in a couple of those," manager A.J. Hinch said.

Marisnick ended Price's night when he launched a fastball onto the train tracks beyond left field to start Houston's sixth. He was replaced by Heath Hembree, who ended a streak of 26 straight scoreless innings by Boston's bullpen when he allowed the homer to Springer to get Houston within 5-4.

Musgrove yielded six hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Correa sent Price's first pitch of the fifth inning into the seats in left field for his 13th home run to put Houston up 2-1.


Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been out since injuring his knee on June 1, was doing well on Sunday, a day after throwing his second bullpen session and could increase his activity in the upcoming days.

Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (pinched nerve in neck) will begin to play catch on Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list on June 5. ... RHP Lance McCullers (back soreness) will throw a bullpen Monday or Tuesday, and if that goes well he could come off the DL next weekend in Seattle. ... RHP Charlie Morton (strained back muscle) will also throw a bullpen on Monday and could begin a rehabilitation assignment soon after that. ... RHP Collin McHugh, who hasn't played all season because of an elbow injury, will go to Florida to begin training for several weeks before hopefully starting a rehabilitation assignment. ... OF Josh Reddick (concussion) will take batting practice on Monday and will likely return to the lineup Tuesday.


Red Sox: Hector Velazquez (1-1, 6.48 ERA) is scheduled to start for Boston in the first of three games at Kansas City on Monday. He'll make his second major league start after allowing one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in his last outing to get his first major league win.

Astros: Brad Peacock (3-1, 3.00) will start for Houston in the opener of a four-game series at Oakland on Monday. He allowed two hits and one run while striking out a season-high 10 in 4 2/3 innings in his last start.

Report: Betts, Sox talked long-term deal but he opted to go year to year

Report: Betts, Sox talked long-term deal but he opted to go year to year

The Red Sox approached Mookie Betts about a long-term contract this past offseason but the right fielder told the team then he's comfortable going year to year, Jon Heyman of reported.

Betts, 24, the American League MVP runner-up to the Angels' Mike Trout last season, when he hit .318 with 31 homers an .897 OPS and league-leading 359 total bases, will make $950,0000 in 2017. That's the second-largest salary for a non-arbitration-eligible player (Trout made $1 million in 2014). 

Betts and agent Steve Veltman wanted more, but Betts said at spring training there are no hard feelings. He's eligible for arbitration next year and can become a free agent in 2020.  

Heyman points out that Betts' reluctance for a long-term deal follows a trend of other young stars (the Cubs' Kris Bryant and Indians' Francisco Lindor among them), who are holding off committing to multi-year deals. Betts' Red Sox teammate, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 24, a client of super-agent Scott Boras, is in that same category. 

Betts, coming off a Wednesday night performance in Philadelphia in which he hit two homers, a double and a single, leads the Sox in homers (11) and steals (11) and is hitting .280 with an .860 OPS. Bogaerts leads the Sox in hitting at .325 and has an .834 OPS.


Mookie Betts homers twice to lift Red Sox over Phillies, 7-3

Mookie Betts homers twice to lift Red Sox over Phillies, 7-3

PHILADELPHIA -- The Red Sox sure didn't look like a team that didn't get to bed until the sun came up Wednesday.

Mookie Betts homered twice, Xander Bogaerts had three RBIs and the bullpen continued to be lights out as the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 for their third straight win.

It would have been understandable if Boston were sluggish in this game after travel issues didn't have their plane land in Philadelphia until 4 a.m.

But the Red Sox weren't looking for excuses and came out from the first pitch and pounded the Phillies.

"It just kind of happened," Betts said. "One guy follows the guy in front of them and it just kind of worked out. It feels great after all the things that went into getting here. I'm happy we did it under four hours and we can get a little rest before tomorrow."

Betts had four hits and drove in three to lead an offensive barrage off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson (5-5). Boston tagged him for six runs on nine hits in just five innings.

Betts led off the game with a single, had an RBI double in the second, but his biggest hit was a solo home run, his 10th of the season, in the fourth inning after the Phillies had scored three runs to close within 5-3.

He had a chance to get the cycle in the ninth inning, but instead of a triple connected for home run No. 11 to put the game out of reach. It was his eighth career multi-homer game.

"When Mookie gets a lead off base hit we were trying to create some energy because of the time we got (into town)," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We were able to string a bunch of hits together and Mookie had some big swings to get it started and we were able to build a five-run lead."

Betts was dazzling defensively as well, and made a stellar diving catch in right field to rob Howie Kendrick of a hit in the fifth inning.

Bogaerts was also impressive, with a two-run double off Hellickson in the first and a single that scored Betts in the second. He also had a fine defensive play robbing Hellickson of an infield hit, squashing a potential Phillies rally in the fourth.

Andrew Benintendi drove in the other Red Sox run with a sacrifice fly.

Both teams had multiple highlight plays defensively. Aside from Betts and Bogaerts, Benintendi made a leaping catch in foul territory taking a ball out of the stands, Pablo Sandoval made a pair of diving plays at third, Dustin Pedroia stretched his errorless game streak to 88, which included some difficult chances and Jackie Bradley Jr. made a running, over-the-shoulder grab to end the game.

"We made a number of great defensive plays tonight," Farrell said.

For its part, Philadelphia did a fine job defensively as well, turning four double plays.

The Phillies scored three runs off Boston starter Brian Johnson in the third inning on a two-out single by Kendrick and a two-run home run by Aaron Altherr, his 10th of the season.

Johnson left the game with an arm injury, but the Red Sox bullpen shut the door on the Phillies, as four different relievers combined to allow just two hits over the final 6 1/3 innings. Hector Velazquez (1-1) was credited with his first major league win.

The Boston bullpen has now gone 21 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

Not much is going right for the Phillies who have the worst record in baseball. They have lost eight consecutive games as well as all eight interleague games this season, matching a franchise record for consecutive interleague losses since games between the two leagues started in 1997.


Red Sox: Starting pitcher Brian Johnson left the game in the third inning with what the Red Sox indicated was left shoulder discomfort. He will be reevaluated in Boston Friday. Johnson said he started to feel tightness in warmups and came out as a precaution. After two strong innings, Johnson lost a lot of velocity on his pitches, leading to the Phillies only offensive outburst of the game.

Phillies: 2B Cesar Hernandez will be out of action for at least six weeks with an oblique strain, but that doesn't mean the Phillies are going to call up red hot prospect Scott Kingery, who leads all of minor league baseball with 18 home runs at Double A Reading. Kingery isn't on the 40-man roster currently and Phillies GM Matt Klentak said before the game that Kingery isn't ready for a call-up. He did suggest, though, that Kingery will likely be moved to Triple A soon.


Recalled prior to the game RHP Hector Velazquez was pressed into emergency duty when Johnson was injured. After getting hammered in his first major league appearance in May, Velazquez was solid against the Phillies allowing just one hit and two walks in 3 1/3 scoreless innings and earning his first big league victory.


Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 2.97) has won each of his last seven decisions and leads the majors with 126 strikeouts.

Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (1-3, 5.52) will be making his seventh major league start. He hasn't pitched more than five innings in any of his first six contests and the Phillies have lost five of those six games.