BOSTON -- Alex Bregman's dominance in September continued with his 30th home run of the season on Saturday afternoon, helping the Astros to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.With its seventh straight victory, Houston remains undefeated this month and ahead of Oakland by 3 1/2 games
BOSTON -- Alex Bregman's dominance in September continued with his 30th home run of the season on Saturday afternoon, helping the Astros to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
With its seventh straight victory, Houston remains undefeated this month and ahead of Oakland by 3 1/2 games in the American League West.
"It feels the same as yesterday, because we won," said Bregman. "I'm just happy we won the game. It's pretty cool, a good little accomplishment, but there's a lot of work left this year."
• Astros celebrate Bregman's 30th home run by forming a bobsled team
With a 2-1 lead in hand, the Astros' third baseman took a 1-0 offering from Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the top of the third inning and launched it into Fenway Park's Green Monster seats in left field, an estimated 376 feet per Statcast™.
In 26 September at-bats, Bregman has collected 12 hits, including five home runs and five doubles, with 11 RBIs and 8 runs scored. Bregman has raised his batting average 9 points since Sept. 1, hitting safely in all seven games this month.
"He's been our backbone," said George Springer. "He's put us on his back all year. He's been consistent. He's starting to show who he is. It's awesome."
Bregman has also drawn five walks and struck out just three times in that span.
Bregman extended his on-base streak, having reached safely in 35 straight games, the most of any Astros player since Lance Berkman reached in 37 straight in 2004. He also became the 12th player in club history to hit 30 or more home runs in a season.
"He's having an excellent year, and he can get better," manager AJ Hinch said. "There are ways for him to get better. We'll continue to push him. The development of a big leaguer, even at this level, shows that these guys aren't finished products when they get here. They come through, they develop, the experience helps. He's at the top of his game as of right now, but he's going to get better."
Saturday's milestone shot landed a few sections from the eighth-inning solo big fly that he hit off of Chris Sale in Game 4 of last year's American League Division Series versus the Red Sox, which helped propel the Astros to the AL Championship Series.
"He's very comfortable being Alex Bregman," said Hinch. "He loves baseball. I've never seen anyone that loves baseball more than him. He works, he thinks, he takes something from everybody that's crossed his path."
Including the Bregman blast, Houston put up five of its runs over the first four innings to help back Charlie Morton, who allowed two runs over five innings in his first start since landing on the disabled list with right shoulder discomfort at the end of August.
"I felt all right," Morton said. "It got a little harder to locate as the game went on, but overall, I felt pretty good. I felt my stuff was pretty good."
Catcher Martin Maldonado went 2-for-3 on the day with a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning.
The Houston bullpen, led by Josh James -- who struck out four and allowed just one hit over 2 2/3 innings -- held Boston at bay over the final four frames.
Roberto Osuna came on to close the door in the ninth, but he ran into a little trouble by allowing a run, two hits and a walk before retiring AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate J.D. Martinez on a 6-4-3 double play to earn his 15th save of the season and his sixth with Houston.
• McCullers' first full 'pen session a success
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Red Sox looked to cut into Houston's 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Up stepped Andrew Benintendi, who laced an inside-out shot to left-center field that looked as if it would catch a piece of the scoreboard along the base of the Green Monster.
Running full speed from the crack of the bat, Jake Marisnick raced over to make the catch in full stride, a half-step before gently coming into contact with the wall and ending the Red Sox threat. According to Statcast™, the Houston center fielder covered 87 feet in five seconds to come up with the five-star catch.
"It's a huge catch," said Hinch. "When things get rolling in this ballpark, the Red Sox are really good at capitalizing on any opportunities. There'd be guys flying all over the place, multiple runs scoring, this building would have been as loud as it's been while we've been here this trip. Huge play for us, huge swing for us to be able to run that down and stop the inning."
"Once that ball went up, I knew I was going to come down with it," Marisnick added.
With the win, the Astros improved to 49-21 (.700) on the road, the best mark in the Majors. They have gone 14-4 over their past 18 games away from home, and they are on pace to post the second highest road winning percentage behind the 2001 Mariners, who went 59-22 (.728) on the road.
• Gurriel got stuck in the netting and Springer couldn't stop laughing
HE SAID IT
"I don't want to see him hit ever again, if I have to. I don't want him up to bat with the game on the line." -- Hinch, on Martinez, who came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two on and one out before grounding into a game-ending double play
The final game of the three-game set between American League division leaders gets the Sunday night treatment, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 CT. The Astros turn to left-hander Dallas Keuchel as they continue their drive toward putting more distance between themselves and the A's in the AL West. The last time Keuchel faced the Red Sox was in 2016, in an 11-1 loss at Fenway Park. Boston counters with Rick Porcello.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com.