Eduardo Rodriguez worked six strong innings and the visiting Boston Red Sox averted a series sweep by parlaying some assertive baserunning into a 4-1 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
The Red Sox won the series finale against the Astros for a second consecutive weekend, with Houston claiming the season series 4-2. Rodriguez (5-3) was instrumental in keeping the Houston lineup shackled, allowing four hits while issuing only one walk against five strikeouts.
After allowing the first batter he faced, Astros second baseman Aledmys Diaz, to reach base and score, Rodriguez eluded danger spots in the second and third inning after stranding Carlos Correa at third in the first. Correa plated Diaz with a run-scoring single for a 1-0 Astros lead.
Diaz suffered a re-aggravation of a left hamstring injury that sidelined him earlier this month while scoring on the play. He departed the game and joined a list of wounded Astros that includes second baseman Jose Altuve, outfielder George Springer and backup catcher Max Stassi.
After working around a leadoff double by Alex Bregman in the third, Rodriguez retired 10 consecutive batters. When Correa walked with one out in the sixth and the Astros trailing 3-1, Boston catcher Christian Vazquez promptly picked Correa off first base.
The Red Sox were as opportunistic as Rodriguez was resilient. After stroking a single off Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (8-2) to lead off the third, Steve Pearce advanced to second on a wild pitch before taking third on a ground-ball out. He scored the tying run when Andrew Benintendi delivered a sacrifice fly to center field. And, after third baseman Rafael Devers pushed Boston into the lead with a 423-foot leadoff home run in the fourth, his seventh this season, the Red Sox scratched across a third run against Verlander in the top of the fifth.
The Astros erred twice in the fifth after Eduardo Nunez reached following a one-out double. Nunez scored when Yuli Gurriel, who replaced Diaz at second, booted a routine grounder from Benintendi, who later took third on a throwing error by Bregman. The Red Sox added an insurance run in the ninth on a Framber Valdez balk and a passed ball by Robinson Chirinos.
Verlander allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts over seven innings.
--Field Level Media