The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover against the Astros on a breezy Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Boston fell to Houston by a final score of 13-4 to drop to 14-22 on the season.
Matched up against Jose Urquidy to start things out, the Sox got off to a quick start thanks to Rafael Devers. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Devers extended his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games by crushing a one-out home run 108.7 mph to center field. Moments later, J.D. Martinez extended his own hitting streak to 18 straight games with a single.
After needing just five pitches to retire the side in the top half of the first, Nathan Eovaldi took the mound in the second inning with a 1-0 lead to work with. Despite those two things working in his favor, the right-hander did not make it out of the second.
Instead, Eovaldi served up a leadoff homer to Yordan Alvarez that saw that one-run lead disappear. Yuli Gurriel then reached base on a missed catch error and Kyle Tucker capitalized on Boston’s mistake by mashing a two-run home run over Houston’s bullpen. Jeremy Pena, who played his college ball at the University of Maine, followed with a solo blast to left-center.
So the Astros had plated four runs without recording an out in the second. Eovaldi got that elusive first out, but then ran into more trouble by giving up back-to-back one-out hits to Martin Maldonado and Jose Altuve. Michael Brantley capitalized on the opportunity in front of him by cranking a three-run home run to right field. Houston batted around in the inning as Alvarez singled with two outs and Gurriel ended Eovaldi’s night with a 381-foot two-run blast.
Eovaldi’s eighth start of the season was also his shortest. The 32-year-old allowed nine runs — six of which were earned — on eight hits, no walks, and no strikeouts over just 1 2/3 innings of work. He also became the first Red Sox pitcher to ever give up as many as five home runs in a single inning, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
Tyler Danish took over for Eovaldi and ended things in the second. An inning later, Devers stayed hot by ripping a leadoff double to left field. Martinez followed — and also stayed hot — by hitting his fifth big fly of the season. A 401-foot two-run shot trimmed the Sox’ deficit down to six runs at 9-3.
Danish, meanwhile, had gotten through a scoreless third inning before loading the bases with one out in the fourth. The reliever then yielded a 386-foot grand slam to Kyle Tucker that put the Astros back up by 10 runs.
Following a perfect top half of the fifth from Hirokazu Sawamura, Boston got one of those runs back in the latter half when Trevor Story scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Kevin Plawecki.
Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Jake Diekman worked one shutout frame each, as did Austin Davis.
Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Alex Verdugo, Story, Franchy Cordero, and Plawecki went down in order against Blake Taylor to seal a 13-4 defeat for the Red Sox.
Boston went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday and left 13 runners on base as a team. Despite those situational struggles, Devers and Martinez combined for six hits as they each finished a triple shy of the cycle. Verdugo and Story also had four hits between them.
Next up: Garcia vs. Pivetta
The Red Sox will look to bounce back as they go for the series win over the Astros on Wednesday. Boston will turn to right-hander Nick Pivetta while Houston will roll with fellow righty Luis Garcia in the series finale.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)