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Sox outslug Astros to cap prolific homestand

May 15, 2016

BOSTON -- After rallying from four runs down to take the lead in the sixth inning, the Astros gave it back in the seventh when a ball hit by Ryan Hanigan dropped between outfielders Carlos Gomez and George Springer in right-center field, leading to a pair of runs and a

BOSTON -- After rallying from four runs down to take the lead in the sixth inning, the Astros gave it back in the seventh when a ball hit by Ryan Hanigan dropped between outfielders Carlos Gomez and George Springer in right-center field, leading to a pair of runs and a 10-9 Red Sox victory Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. With the win, Boston capped a 6-1 homestand in which it scored double-digit runs five times and averaged over 10 runs per game.
The Red Sox punctuated the heavy-hitting homestand by taking three of four from the Astros, who got five RBIs from third baseman Luis Valbuena. He hit a three-run homer in the second to put the Astros ahead, 3-2, but Xander Bogaerts capped a four-run second with a three-run homer off Chris Devenski to put Boston ahead, 6-3.
Little Leaguers get up-close look of Fenway
Hanigan's two-run single in the third pushed the lead to 8-4, but the Astros chipped away. Valbuena's bases-loaded double in the fifth scored two, and Houston took advantage of a two-out error by third baseman Josh Rutledge in the sixth to score three unearned runs for a 9-8 lead.
"We've got to play better," said Astros pitcher Scott Feldman, who was on the mound when the Hanigan ball dropped. "I feel like we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We've got a lot of talent in this room. I feel like there have been too many times where we head from the stadium saying, 'Man, we should have won that game.' Today's just an example of that."
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a single in the fifth.

Hanigan handy: Hanigan had four RBIs in the game, including one on the two-out single in the seventh to score Rutledge and tie the game. Hanigan then scored from first on Mookie Betts' triple to give the Red Sox the lead. The four RBIs are the most Hanigan has recorded with the Red Sox, and two shy of his career high.
"He's a competitive at-bat," said manager John Farrell. "I don't even look at the batting average with Hanny. There's a competitive at-bat every time he steps in the box. He can do some things as far as manufacture a run, move the runner over, hit behind the runner. He's a veteran guy that knows the strike zone, knows his strengths and maybe his limitations as a hitter. Against Houston, seemingly it's reared its head in a positive way [over] multiple at-bats for him." More >

Misplays prove costly: The Astros, who have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball, certainly didn't live up to that. Gomez couldn't catch a routine fly ball off the bat of Rutledge in the second inning, appearing to lose it in the sun, paving the way for a four-run inning. The miscommunication between Gomez and Springer on Hanigan's ball allowed the Red Sox to take the lead in the seventh.
"That's it," Gomez said. "It's my fault. We lost the game because of me today." More >

Bogaerts' bash: After the Astros went ahead in top of the second, Bogaerts hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the frame to give the Red Sox the lead temporarily. It was Bogaerts' fourth home run of the season. He didn't record his fourth homer last season until Aug. 16, his 117th game.
"Aw, man, he had me going away," Bogaerts said of the at-bat against Devenski that ended with his home run. "I know he has a good changeup so you cannot get away from that. That last one he just kind of left it a little bit in the middle. He was throwing pretty good away until that last one."

Valbuena's big day spoiled: The third baseman, who entered the game with five RBIs on the season, matched that total in his first three at-bats Sunday. He walloped his first homer of the season, a three-run blast, in the second inning off starter Sean O'Sullivan, and he helped the Astros erase a four-run deficit with a two-run double with the bases loaded in the fifth.
"He's looking better," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, the big home run was nice to get us back in the game and give us the lead. His swings the other way are indicating he's really trying to get back on the ball as opposed to pull off the ball. He's been a potent part of the bottom part of our lineup." More >

"It's a lot of fun, especially coming to the park and then going out there and doing your work together and preparing for the game. This is a lot of fun right now."
-- Bogaerts, on how the Red Sox are playing
"You've got to play 27 outs in this ballpark specifically, and we were shown why again today." -- Hinch
The Red Sox entered the game with just 14 errors in 37 games, tied for the second fewest in the Majors. They did not have a multi-error game in that span. But they committed three errors on Sunday, including two on one play in the second inning.

Astros: The Astros will take Monday off before opening a three-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Dallas Keuchel (2-5, 5.58 ERA) gets the start, looking for his first win since April 15. He's gone 0-4 with a 7.98 ERA in his last four outings.
Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello gets the start on Monday at Kansas City at 7:05 p.m. ET. It will be Porcello's first appearance against an American League Central opponent this season. He will be opposed by right-hander Yordano Ventura in the Red Sox' first meeting with the reigning World Series champs.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to based in Boston.