BOSTON -- George Springer went 3-for-5 and clubbed a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth inning off college teammate Matt Barnes to give the Astros a 7-6 come-from-behind win and snap the Red Sox's five-game winning streak Friday at Fenway Park.
Trailing, 5-1, the Astros mounted their biggest comeback of the season by batting around in the fifth and scoring four times against Red Sox starter Steven Wright to tie the game. Jose Altuve had an RBI single, Springer had an RBI double and Marwin Gonzalez had a game-tying single.
"Especially in this ballpark after they put up a big number early in the game, it was nice to fight back a little bit and put up a big number of our own," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought we swung the bats pretty well most of the night. Some big hits with runners in scoring position. We continued to preach handing the baton to the next hitter and not rely solely on the home run. We got the big home run from George, but all in all, just a really, really good win for us."
Astros starter Lance McCullers, making his 2016 debut following shoulder soreness suffered in Spring Training, allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The first five Red Sox hitters reached and scored in the second to put Boston ahead, 5-1. Travis Shaw homered in the sixth to cut the lead to 7-6.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Springer shines at Fenway: Springer, who grew up as a Red Sox fan in New Britain, Conn., and played his first game at Fenway on Thursday, won the game for Houston with his eighth homer. It came off Barnes, who was Springer's teammate for three years at UConn. The two also were teammates in the Cape Cod League and on the USA Baseball national team.
"It's awesome," Springer said. "Obviously to get that hit there is obviously big, but I'm just more concerned with helping us win and doing anything that I can to help us win regardless of the stadium." More >
Bradley still bashing: With his second-inning RBI double, Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the Majors and the longest streak this season.
"I got some pitches I could pull, and obviously when I see the shift, I think about how I can beat the shift and stay back on the fastball and almost jam myself," said Bradley, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, with each hit going to a separate outfield section
Second inning McCullers' downfall: McCullers pitched in his first big league game since starting Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Royals last October. McCullers was sharp outside of the second inning, when he gave up four hits, two walks and five runs. He threw 88 pitches, 55 for strikes.
"It felt good to be back out there," McCullers said. "Obviously, I lost a little bit there in the second. I'd do anything to have a couple of those pitches back. The most important thing is we got the win and I rebounded there the next couple of innings." More >
Wright cools off: Wright had his most difficult outing of the season, lasting just 4 1/3 innings on a night that featured steady rain and the wind blowing out. The five runs he allowed matched the total of his last three starts, spanning 22 innings. The outing snapped his streak of six straight starts going at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs this season, and 10 straight starts going back to last season.
"I've always known the rain is never good for a knuckleballer," Wright said. "So I kind of knew that going in. There's really not much you can do to prepare for it. Hopefully it stops. Change out the balls as much as you can, and we did. But it's just really hard to throw a pitch with conviction when the ball's slipping out of your hand. But I knew that going in. I was just trying to do everything I can to get through the fifth, possibly the sixth, trying to get as deep as I can. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do that today."
"Any time you have a big moment, David Ortiz can go ahead and take his walk to first for all I care. With all respect to Hanley [Ramirez] and any other hitter that's ever hit behind him, I'm just not comfortable when Ortiz gets a big at-bat in big moment like that." -- Hinch, on the decision to intentionally walk Ortiz in the fifth
"Matt's been so good for us in those tight spots. Middle innings, strong. We've been in a stretch where we haven't really taxed the bullpen. Thought he was fresh. On a 3-2 pitch, didn't work out." -- Farrell, on Barnes facing Springer in the sixth inning
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The loss snapped the Red Sox's four-game streak of scoring 11 or more runs. It was just the second time in franchise history that the ballclub had such a streak, with the first in 1950. The Sox's four-game streak of 11 or more runs, winning by a margin of seven or more runs was the longest for any team since Pittsburgh won four straight in 1901. According to Elias, the Red Sox were only the third team in the modern era (since 1900) to score 11 or more runs with 14 or more hits, along with the 1929 New York Giants and the 1930 Philadelphia Athletics.
Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh will get the start when the Astros face the Red Sox at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Fenway Park. McHugh is 3-0 with a 3.57 ERA in his last three starts, allowing 17 hits in 17 2/3 innings.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz is scheduled to face the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET. Buchholz (2-3, 5.90 ERA) is the only one of the Red Sox's starting pitchers with a losing record this season. The Red Sox are 2-5 in his outings, and he is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in five career starts against the Astros, with 45 strikeouts and just five walks in 38 1/3 innings.
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