Rookie right-hander Luis Garcia won his fourth consecutive decision and the Houston Astros parlayed a fortuitous seventh inning into a 5-1 victory over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Unable to strike a decisive blow against Red Sox right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4) during his laborious six-inning stint, the Astros posted a three-run seventh by capitalizing on a throwing error, a bases-loaded walk and a swinging bunt single with a 46.3 mph exit velocity.
Houston started the uprising against Boston reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, who was undone in part by errors committed by third baseman Rafael Devers and second baseman Marwin Gonzalez. The latter’s errant throw allowed Kyle Tucker to score and extend Houston’s lead to 3-1.
Carlos Correa forced in Myles Straw with his four-pitch walk off Garrett Whitlock and Martin Maldonado scampered home when Yordan Alvarez reached on a slow grounder to Devers. That, combined with a leadoff home run from Jose Altuve in the first inning and Chas McCormick’s sacrifice fly in the fourth, was enough to support another strong outing from Garcia.
Garcia (4-3) entered his ninth start riding a three-start winning streak, a stretch that featured just three earned runs on 10 hits and five walks with 19 strikeouts over 16 innings. He produced career highs in innings (six) and pitches (100) in his previous start and improved upon those numbers against the Red Sox to further entrench himself in the rotation.
He stranded Alex Verdugo at third base in the first inning and didn’t allow another base runner to reach scoring position until Hunter Renfroe stroked a leadoff double to left in the fifth. Renfroe scored on a run-scoring groundout from Gonzalez that sliced the Astros’ two-run lead in half, but that was the last serious threat Garcia faced before completing the top of the seventh inning.
Garcia worked around a leadoff single from Verdugo in the sixth and a two-out single by Christian Vazquez in the seventh. He allowed one run on five hits and one walk with six strikeouts, tossing 106 pitches and relying mostly on four-seam fastballs (48), cutters (24) and sliders (20).
–Field Level Media