Red Sox beat Astros 12-8, avoid sweep as Martinez homers

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BOSTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit his 13th homer, Christian Arroyo had a three-run drive and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a pair of dropped balls in a five-run sixth inning to beat the Houston Astros 12-8 Thursday night, avoiding a three-game sweep.

Right fielder Kyle Tucker dropped Martinez's sacrifice fly that tied the score at 8 for an error as the batter reached, and shortstop Carlos Correa let Rafael Devers' bases-loaded pop to short center to glance off his glove but got the out because an infield fly was called.

“It was a tremendous change of emotions about eight times. We‘re cheering one moment and kind of lamenting the next moment,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a weird ballgame. The whole game was very strange and it’s hard to explain. ”

Yuli Gurriel and José Altuve homered for the Astros, Altuve providing an 8-7 advantage leading off the sixth on a pitch from Darwinzon Hernandez that was 0.85 feet above the ground. According to MLB Statcast, it was the lowest pitch hit for a home run in the major leagues since the start of 2018.

“To manage these games is not fun, but I understand how people like it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said the odd plays

Baker did not make it to the end of the 3-hour, 47-minute game. He was ejected in the seventh for arguing after the Red Sox turned a double play on a ball that Yuli Gurriel hit into the dirt and maintained was a foul ball.

Darwinzon Hernandez (1-2) won after allowing Altuve’s homer.

Kiké Hernández doubled off Blake Taylor (0-1) leading off the bottom half and scored on Martinez's fly to deep right, where Tucker said the wind played with the ball as it descended.

“As it started coming down, it started fading back toward the infield and knuckling as it came down. I just clanked it off my glove,” Tucker said.

Xander Bogaerts walked, and for a moment it appeared Devers reached to load the bases before second base umpire John Tumpane signaled the infield fly for the second out.

Enoli Paredes relieved and loaded the bases with a walk to Hunter Renfroe, then hit Vazquez on the elbow with an 0-1 curveball, forcing in the go-ahead run.

Paredes walked Arroyo on six straight fastballs, putting Boston up 10-8. Brooks Raley relieved and Bobby Dalbec hit a two-run double.

Astros starter Zack Greinke allowed four runs and seven hits in three innings. Brandon Bielak, recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land on Wednesday, gave up three runs and four hits over two innings.

WILD WIND

The wind was coming from the east at 15 mph as the game started, but Baker said by the sixth it seemed to have picked up — especially high up above the stands where it could blow the ball around.

“Guys that never mess up fly balls, I could tell they were in trouble by the way they were moving and the way their feet were moving. Boy, that was a tough inning and a tough night for us,” Baker said.

BALL OF CONFUSION

Baker said he was most upset because he felt the umpires were confused on the call the led to his ejection and did signal it correctly, leading to the confusion.

“I said a couple magic words and that usually gets you tossed," Baker said. "Nobody knew what to do. They didn’t know what to do. Our baserunner didn’t know what to do.”

HOLD UP

Altuve thought he had a leadoff double in the fourth with a line drive off the Green Monster in left, but was thrown out by Alex Verdugo, who fielded the ball off the wall and threw to Arroyo at second. Arroyo had the ball before Altuve began to slide.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Verdugo returned after missing two games with tightness in his back. ... RHP Brandon Brennan was from Triple-A Worcester, where he made eight relief appearances and held opponents to two runs on six hits over 8 1/3 innings with a 2.16 ERA. … RHP Phillips Valdéz was optioned to Worcester.

UP NEXT

Astros: RH José Urquidy (4-3, 3.76 ERA) gets his first start since allowing six runs and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings Saturday against Toronto. Urquidy will face Twins’ RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-7, 7.28) as the Astros open a three-game series at Minnesota on Friday night.

Red Sox: RHP Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.88) faces RHP Ross Stripling (2-3, 4.71) Friday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

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