When playing the same team seven times within a 10-day span, some wild things are bound to happen, as was the case between the Red Sox and Astros at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
Boston was able to come away with a hard-fought, action-packed 12-8 win over Houston to avoid a three-game sweep, but not before 25 hits and five lead changes were exchanged between both sides over the course of a contest that took nearly four hours to complete.
Rodriguez fails to get through five innings
Eduardo Rodriguez made his 12th start of the season for Boston on Thursday and had a relatively tough time of things against a team he has regularly struggled against.
Over just 4 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on six hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.
The first of those six Astros runs came courtesy of a solo home run off the bat of Yuli Gurriel in the second inning. The next two came on a two-run double from Yordan Alvarez an inning later.
After settling into a bit of a groove and recording the first two outs of the top of the fifth, Rodriguez gave up a single to Alex Bregman and a six-pitch walk to Alvarez, which filled the bases for Houston and in turn marked the end of Rodriguez’s outing.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (64 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler saw his ERA on the season inflate to 6.03 while taking home the no-decision. His next start should come against the Braves in Atlanta next Tuesday.
With his pitch count where it was at, Rodriguez got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Matt Andriese, who proceeded to walk in a run and serve up a bases-clearing, three-run double to Kyle Tucker to close the book on the starter’s night before getting out of the inning with his side now trailing 7-4.
Red Sox bullpen keeps Astros in check
From the sixth inning on, the Red Sox bullpen combined to allow just one more run to the Astros, with Jose Altuve taking Darwinzon Hernandez deep to left field to make it an 8-7 contest in the top half of the sixth.
Besides that, Adam Ottavino tossed a scoreless top of the seventh with the help of an unconventional, inning-ending 2-3-4 double play, Josh Taylor continued to impress with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Matt Barnes closed things out in the ninth to seal a 12-8 victory for the Sox.
Getting going against Greinke
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a tough opponent in Astros right-hander Zack Greinke.
A string of three straight one-out singles in the bottom of the second got the scoring started for the Sox, with Christian Vazquez plating Rafael Devers from third for their first run of the night.
Enrique Hernandez followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk, while J.D. Martinez crushed a solo homer — his 13th of the year — and Vazquez knocked in another run on an RBI single in the third inning to put Boston ahead, 4-3.
Arroyo answers the call
After falling behind by three runs in the top half of the fifth, the Red Sox were able to respond right away by punishing Astros reliever Brandon Bielak in their half of the frame.
Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez both reached base on a pair of singles, which brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Christian Arroyo with two outs in the inning.
Arroyo came through in the clutch, as he demolished a hanging slider from Bielak and sent it flying over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the season — and his second against the Astros.
The 437-foot three-run shot knotted thing back up at seven runs a piece heading into the later innings.
Six-run sixth seals it
While the Astros briefly retook an 8-7 lead to begin things in the sixth, the Sox wasted no time in taking that lead back in the bottom half of the inning.
Enrique Hernandez led off with a double, advanced to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout, and scored on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly that was dropped by Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker. 8-8.
A pair of walks drawn by Xander Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe filled the bases for Christian Vazquez, who added on to a productive night at the plate by getting plunked by Astros reliever Enoli Parades to bring across yet another run.
Christian Arroyo followed suit by also getting beaned with a pitch to drive in Xander Bogaerts from third, and the Red Sox had a 10-8 lead just like that.
Following an Astros pitching change that saw Brooks Raley take over for Parades, Bobby Dalbec all but put this one to bed when he drilled a 106 mph double off the left field wall and scored both Renfroe and Vazquez in the process of doing so.
That bit of added insurance gave the Red Sox a commanding 12-8 lead, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score. Boston is now 38-25 on the season.
Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays
After halting a mini two-game losing streak, the Red Sox will welcome the 31-29 Blue Jays into town for a four-game weekend series that begins on Friday night and wraps around to next Monday.
Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the start for Boston in the series opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Ross Striping for Toronto.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)