Thursday, August 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Astros 5
By Jordan Godwin, Special to ESPNBoston.com
HOUSTON -- Houston Astros right fielder L.J. Hoes stood at the wall and jumped as high as he could, with his glove extending as far as possible.
It was a desperate leap of faith, but he was chasing the inevitable. Stephen Drew's three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning sailed far above Hoes’ head, landing about a half-dozen rows deep into the right-field seats. With a swing of the bat, the Boston Red Sox went from a one-run deficit to a 7-5 lead that held up as the final after Koji Uehara closed out the Astros in the bottom half of the ninth.
The Red Sox improved to 18-7 in games decided in the last at-bat. They have now come from behind in an astonishing six of their last seven wins.
David Ortiz walked out of the dugout to welcome Drew, Drake Britton and Jonny Gomes after they scored the game-winning runs. Ortiz was shouting, high-fiving, laughing and hugging, all in ecstatic celebration of what he had just witnessed -- another wild and dramatic victory earned in come-from-behind fashion.
Ortiz himself led off the ninth with a single to right, setting up the last-stand rally. Ortiz stayed fiery hot, going 4-for-5 in the game.
Gomes homered for the second straight night, with a two-run shot in the seventh that made the score 5-4.
But before the late heroics, the Red Sox let one opportunity after another slip through their fingertips. They stranded 11 baserunners in the game and ended six of the first seven innings with runners in scoring position.
Aside from leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a rough 0-for-5, two-strikeout night, Red Sox hitters were 12-for-32 and drew eight walks.
They were patient and poised against Astros rookie starter Jarred Cosart, who went five innings and gave up just two runs despite allowing seven hits and five walks.
At times, the Red Sox seemed anxious about the possibility of losing a series to the Houston Astros, who still own the worst record in baseball after dropping two of three to Boston.
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was ejected by third-base umpire Brian Knight in the top of the seventh inning. Victorino was called out by Knight on a check-swing strikeout to end the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the game tied 2-2. The Astros took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, and then Victorino appeared to have had continued words with Knight from the Red Sox dugout as Ortiz batted in the seventh inning.
The reigning American League Player of the Week was subsequently ejected, and he slowly gathered his cap, glove and bats before heading into the dugout.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster went six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, while striking out seven -- his highest strikeout total since May 7.