Unlike his last time out, Martin Perez did not have his way with the Houston Astros in his 12th start of the season.
After tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a win in Houston last week, Perez got rocked by the Astros lineup at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
The Red Sox fell to the Astros by a final score of 7-1, which snapped their five-game winning streak. With the loss, Boston drops to 37-24 on the season and falls to 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.
Martin Perez’s struggles
In just two innings of work, the veteran left-hander yielded a season-high six runs — all of which were earned — on six hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts.
The first run Perez gave up was a rather cheap one, as he served up a first-inning solo homer to Carlos Correa that traveled 310 feet down the left field line and just snuck over the Green Monster to give the Astros an early lead.
The other five runs, however, were not. That being the case since Perez allowed the first four hitters he faced in the second to reach base on two doubles, a two-run single, and walk. He followed that ugly sequence by getting beat by Carlos Correa — who this time laced a run-scoring single — once again before issuing an intentional walk to Alex Bregman to load the bases and plunking Yordan Alvarez to walk in a run.
A Yuli Gurriel bases-loaded single added on the Astros’ rally to put Houston up 6-0, and Perez’s night came to a close as soon as he got the final two outs of the second in consecutive order.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 59 (33 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler did not induce a single swing-and-miss while only managing to retire six of the 16 Astros he faced.
Ultimately falling to 4-3 on the season in addition to raising his ERA from 3.09 to 3.88, Perez’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Sunday.
Andriese and the bullpen shoulder the workload
With his starter only providing two innings, Red Sox manager Alex Cora had to turn to his bullpen earlier than he likely anticipated.
Matt Andriese, who had last worked on May 31, got that first call in relief of Martin Perez, and the right-hander was solid while providing three innings out of the bullpen.
The lone run the right-hander surrendered in his third relief appearance of three or more innings came on a booming 451-foot solo blast off the bat of Yordan Alvarez in Houston’s half of the fourth.
Brandon Workman took over for Andriese by tossing two scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings, while Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth and ninth to hold the Astros at seven runs.
Sox bats held in check by Framber Valdez
While Martin Perez could not replicate his performance from last week, Astros starter Framber Valdez certainly did.
Fresh off an outing in which he hurled seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park last Wednesday, Valdez was once again locked in over 7 1/3 more strong innings on Tuesday.
The Boston bats only managed to push across one run off the left-hander, and that one run came on a Hunter Renfroe RBI groundout in the fourth inning.
Sure, the fact that Martin Perez put his side in an early hole does not exactly help things, but the Sox finishing the day having gone 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight men on base as a team is not exactly encouraging, either.
Plawecki removed with jaw contusion
Kevin Plawecki originally started Tuesday’s contest behind home plate, but had to be removed in the fourth inning after taking a pitch that bounced in the dirt off his chin/jaw area. Christian Vazquez took over at catcher and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
Later diagnosed with a jaw contusion, Plawecki is considered day-to-day. He does not have a concussion, per Alex Cora.
Next up: Odorizzi vs. Eovaldi
The Red Sox will send right-hander and Houston-area native Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday night.
He will be opposed by fellow righty Jake Odorizzi, who will be making his sixth start of the year for the Astros.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)