The Red Sox saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Phillies on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Philadelphia by a final score of 6-1 in the series finale at Citizens Bank Park to drop back to 21-15 on the season.
Tanner Houck, making his seventh start of the year for the Sox, allowed three earned runs on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.
After facing the minimum through three scoreless frames out of the gate, Houck ran into some trouble in the fourth. The right-hander gave up back-to-back singles to Bryson Stott and Trea Turner to lead off the inning. He then issued a five-pitch walk to Bryce Harper, which filled the bases for Nick Castellanos.
Castellanos, in turn, opened the scoring by grounding into an RBI force out at third base. Had Rafael Devers fielded the grounder cleanly, he could have gone for the force out at home and possibly start a 5-2-3 double play. Devers instead bobbled the ball, which forced him to make a diving tag on Turner for the only out he could get.
Stott scored from third as a result of Devers’ bobble. Kyle Schwarber then doubled the Phillies’ early lead by plating Harper on a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield.
Despite falling behind first, the Red Sox quickly got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth. After Phillies starter Taijuan Walker retired Devers and Jarren Duran for the first two outs of the inning, Triston Casas cut the deficit in half by crushing a 416-foot solo shot into the trees in deep center field.
Casas’ fourth home run of the season left his bat at 106.4 mph and brought Boston back to within one run of Philadelphia at 2-1. Houck then made quick work of the Phillies’ 8-9-1 hitters in the bottom of the fifth and came back out for the sixth.
After giving up a one-out single to Harper, Houck got Castellanos to ground out for the second out of the inning. With Schwarber due to hit next for the Phillies, Red Sox manager Alex Cora made the somewhat surprising decision to bring in lefty reliever Richard Bleier.
Schwarber came out on top in the left-on-left matchup. The former Red Sox slugger took Bleier 434 feet deep to right field on a 1-0, 88.3 mph sinker down the heart of the plate for his eighth home run of the year. The towering two-run blast put the Phillies up, 4-1, and officially closed the book on Houck’s afternoon.
Finishing with a final pitch count of just 74 (50 strikes), Houck was charged with the tough luck loss. The 26-year-old did, however, induce a game-high 12 swings-and-misses while lowering his ERA on the season to 5.26.
Now trailing 4-1, the Red Sox got a scoreless seventh inning out of Ryan Brasier. The Phillies then put this game out of reach by pushing across two runs on a J.T. Realmuto two-run single off recent trade acquisition Zack Littell.
Down to their final three outs in the ninth, former Red Sox left-hander Matt Strahm put the finishing touches on his first save in a Phillies uniform by retiring Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida, and Raimel Tapia in short order.
The one run the Red Sox pushed across on Sunday is the fewest they have scored in a game since April 10, when they were shut out by the Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston had just five hits and zero walks as a team, though Yoshida (2-for-4) was able to extend his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single.
Wong throws out two more base stealers
Despite going hitless at the plate on Sunday, Connor Wong did throw out two more would-be base stealers. The 26-year-old gunned down his counterpart in J.T. Realmuto at second base for the final out of the second inning. He then threw out Edmundo Sosa at second for the final out of the seventh. Wong has now thrown out eight of 16 potential base stealers to begin the year.
Next up: On to Atlanta
With their eight-game winning streak behind them, the Red Sox will have an off day in Atlanta on Monday. They will then open a quick two-game series against the Braves on Tuesday night. Nick Pivetta is slated to get the start for Boston in the series opener opposite fellow right-hander Charlie Morton.
First pitch from Truist Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.
(Picture of Raimel Tapia: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)