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Rapid Reaction: Astros 8, Red Sox 1

8/17/2014

BOSTON -- Well, that was ugly.

The Houston Astros needed only one inning to decimate the Boston Red Sox in the four-game series finale Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, 8-1.

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly worked four innings and allowed seven runs on seven hits, with six walks and three strikeouts. He tossed 91 pitches, 49 for strikes.

The second inning was a complete disaster for the Red Sox.

Kelly loaded the bases with no outs on a pair singles and a walk. The Astros’ Marc Krauss lifted a fly ball to left field, which should have been an easy out for Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He got a late jump on the ball and appeared to have lost sight of it, as it dropped in for an RBI-single at the base of the Monster.

“Off the bat he didn't get a read. He was looking right into a glare so he didn't read it off the bat right away,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Houston’s Matt Dominguez followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Astros a 2-0 lead, but it only got worse for the Red Sox.

With one out, and runners on first and second, the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez hit a ground ball right at Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The rookie fielded the ball, and it should have been an easy 6-3 double play, but Bogaerts released his throw a half-step before touching second base, as Krauss slid into the bag.

Second-base umpire Cory Blaser signaled Krauss was out, while Gonzalez was out at first in plenty of time. It appeared the inning was over and the Red Sox fielders headed toward the dugout. But Houston manager Bo Porter came out to argue that the runner at second was safe. While the umpiring crew discussed it, Porter officially challenged the call. With that, Farrell came out to argue the challenge because “neighborhood” plays aren’t supposed to be reviewable.

“Based on the call from the field level back to New York that they determined that it was a play that can be reviewed,” Farrell said. “My initial explanation on the field was that the front-end of a double play is a non-reviewable play. My interpretation is that the neighborhood play should not be dependent upon a feed throw or not. A neighborhood play is not a reviewable play.”

However, Bogaerts did not throw the ball to second, and since he took it himself, it’s not considered a neighborhood play. So, after a 2-minute and 24-four second delay, the original call was overturned and Krauss was safe.

“Actually, we have not have had that play, per say, where the shortstop or the second baseman go right to the bag on their own,” said crew chief Jim Joyce. “So, just to make everything clear, I explained to Bo that I was going to ask New York, the replay center, if it was, in fact, reviewable because a neighborhood play is not. New York came back to me and said, ‘Yes, that play is reviewable’ and I came back to them and said, ‘OK, Houston is challenging that play’ and that was the outcome.”

After the game, Bogaerts was distraught about his defensive miscue.

“I just have to touch the base first before I throw the ball,” Bogaerts said. “I knew right away once I let that ball go that I stepped [on the bag] after, so it’s kind of something I knew I messed up right there, but [I was hoping] the umpires wouldn’t replay it and we would’ve had a double play. I knew right away I stepped on the base after I threw.”

After the play, Kelly issued a walk to Astros’ leadoff man Robbie Grossman to again load the bases. Jose Altuve followed with a grand slam into the Monster Seats to give Houston a 6-0 lead.

“I wish I could do that again,” Bogaerts said. “I saw the runner coming on me, and I tried to touch the bag and get it out as soon as possible and turn a double play. Joe Kelly was going through a rough stretch with his command, so if we get a double play right there for him would’ve been huge. It really would have turned the game around, but since I didn’t turn it, it turned around in their favor.

“After Altuve came up to hit and got that grand slam, there’s no worse feeling than that.”

Farrell, still screaming from the dugout, was ejected before he sprinted onto the field to make his presence felt with first-base umpire Doug Eddings.

“After that, I went too far with my reaction,” Farrell said.

Houston gained a 7-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Dexter Fowler led off with a home run.

The Red Sox pushed across their first run in the bottom of the third inning on a RBI-double by Daniel Nava. Boston couldn’t generate any offense the rest of the way and produced only eight hits -- proving why the club ranks last in the AL this season with only 474 runs scored.

Wright timing: With Boston’s bullpen completely taxed, the Red Sox needed a pitcher to serve in long relief, in case Kelly ran into issues. So, the Red Sox recalled knuckleballer Steven Wright from Pawtucket and he made his Red Sox season debut in relief of Craig Breslow in the top of the sixth inning. Wright worked four innings and allowed only one run on four hits, with zero walks and four strikeouts. The one hit he allowed was a solo home run to the Astros’ Jon Singleton in the top of the ninth inning.

Multi-tasking: It’s been a while since Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Will Middlebrooks have each provided multiple-hit games. Bradley finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk for his first multi-hit game since July 25. Middlebrooks, who spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, went 2-for-4. His last multi-hit game for the Red Sox was April 25.