Alex Cora’s first trip back to Houston since being implicated in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scandal did not get off to the best of starts.
The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and closed out the month of May with a blowout 11-2 loss at the hands of the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Monday evening.
They fell to 32-21 (16-8 on the road) on the season as a result and now sit two full games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East, the farthest they have been back of the division lead since April 5.
Rodriguez wraps up miserable May
Eduardo Rodriguez made his 10th start of the season for Boston in the opener of this four-game set and was unable to end a downright dreadful month of May on a positive note.
Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander got shelled for six earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with just four strikeouts on the day.
The six runs Rodriguez yielded on Monday were a season-high and came in bunches, with the Astros plating two in the second, two in the third, and two more in the fifth.
What truly did Rodriguez in was when he served up a two-run home run to Jose Altuve with no outs in the third inning. The homer was more bad luck than anything considering it came on a 1-2, 88 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate and traveled a whopping 330 feet with an exit velocity of 92.2 mph just over the fence in left field.
Still, a home run is a a home run, and it was one that put the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.
From there, Rodriguez stringed together a nice stretch before running into more trouble in the fifth in which he allowed two of the first four hitters he faced to reach base.
At that point, the lefty’s pitch count had reached 97 (62 strikes), and his day was done as Cora turned to Colten Brewer out of the Boston bullpen.
By getting hit with his fourth consecutive losing decision, Rodriguez falls to 5-4 on the year while raising his ERA to 5.64. In six May starts, the 28-year-old posted an astronomically-high 7.28 ERA, which is the highest mark of any month in his six major-league seasons.
Red Sox bullpen takes over
In relief of Rodriguez, Colten Brewer took over with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and allowed both runners he inherited to score before retiring the side.
Brewer, who was making his 2021 debut, was charged with four additional runs, while Phillips Valdez was charged with one, in the sixth. Valdez then tossed a a scoreless bottom of the seventh and Matt Andriese followed suit in the eighth.
Quiet offense sans Renfroe
The Red Sox lineup failed to muster anything off of Astros starter Jose Urquidy on Monday.
It took until the fourth inning for Boston to reach base and until the fifth inning to record a hit against the right-hander.
The only real exception to the Sox’ offensive woes was Hunter Renfore, who put the finishing touches on a strong month of may by scoring his side’s first run on an Alex Verdugo RBI double in the sixth and later scoring himself on his seventh home run of the season in the eighth.
Renfroe’s 419-foot solo blast made it an 11-2 game, which would go on to be Monday’s final score.
Next up: Richards vs. Garcia
Tuesday’s pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Astros will feature veteran right-hander getting the ball for Boston and rookie right-hander Luis Garcia getting the ball for Houston.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)