On a day filled with distractions — and trades — the Red Sox pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Monday night.
Boston defeated Houston by a final score 3-2 to improve to 52-52 on the season and win back-to-back games for the first time since July 9-10.
Nathan Eovaldi, in what could be his final start with the Red Sox ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, put together a gritty performance at his hometown ballpark. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs — both of which were unearned — on four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work.
Both of those runs came in the bottom of the third inning. With the Red Sox already in possession of a 1-0 lead, Jose Altuve led off by reaching first base on a Christian Arroyo fielding error. Yuli Gurriel then grounded into what had the makings to be a 6-4-3 double play, but Xander Bogaerts misplayed the ball, allowing both runners to reach base safely. Yordan Alvarez proceeded to plate Altuve on a game-tying sacrifice fly while Aledmys Diaz drove in Gurriel on an RBI double.
Eovaldi managed to strand Diaz at second base in the process of retiring the next 11 batters he faced. With one out in the seventh, Martin Maldonado lifted a 241-foot flyball to right field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with.
That is how Eovaldi’s night came to a close. The 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 97 (60 strikes), though he only averaged 94.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.81.
Offensively, Jarren Duran accounted for all three of Boston’s runs on Monday. Matched up against Astros righty Luis Garcia, Duran laced a ground-rule RBI double to drive in Bobby Dalbec from second with two outs in the third inning.
Fast forward to the fifth, the Dalbec-Duran combination struck again. With Garcia still on the mound for Houston, Dalbec drew a leadoff walk and Duran once more came up to the plate with two outs.
On a first-pitch, 84 mph cutter from Garcia, Duran crushed a 379-foot two-run shot to right field. Duran’s second home run of the season left his bat at 98.1 mph. It also gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2.
In relief of Eovaldi, John Schreiber received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. With one runner on and two outs to get in the seventh, Schreiber got Altuve to ground into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. He then allowed two of the first three Astros he faced to reach in the eighth before retiring Kyle Tucker and punching out Jeremy Pena on six pitches.
That paved the way for Tanner Houck in the ninth. Houck made relative quick work of the Astros to record his seventh save of the season and his first since June 25.
Next up: Crawford vs. Javier
The Red Sox will go for a rare series win over the Astros on Tuesday night. Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Cristian Javier will do the same for Houston.
First pitch from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Jarren Duran: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)