The Red Sox' winning streak has ended at three after a 3-2 loss that saw them somehow produce just two runs on thirteen hits.
We've seen the Red Sox' bats go quiet before, but this was a throwback to the early days of the season, when Boston's offensive failures were less a matter of quality and more a matter of timing. They would hit, they would get on base, and then they'd never score runs.
That's certainly what happened tonight, though it wasn't just about bad timing. There was also bad baserunning involved. That showed up as early as the second inning, when Xander Bogaerts was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into two bases. Already by the start of the third they had put three men on base and left them there.
Amusingly enough, not even the first Boston run was the result of timely hitting. Instead, it was just a big swing from David Ortiz on the first pitch of the fourth inning. It was one of those shots that earned a leisurely stroll out of the batter's box from Papi, who had no doubt where the ball was going to land. The Red Sox would still manage some waste in the fourth, though, stranding Xander Bogaerts after his second hit of the night, then having David Ortiz ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
Where the Red Sox had been making the least of their many baserunners, the Astros made the most of their few. Jake Peavy allowed just the one hit in his first two innings of work, but after surrendering a two-out double to Jose Altuve in the third it was a two-run homer just beyond the reach of a leaping Mookie Betts that gave Houston an early lead. The math just doesn't seem quite right: five hits including a homer for Boston, three hits including a homer for Houston, and a 2-1 lead for the Astros.
The Red Sox would finally manage to convert another baserunner into a run in the seventh inning, this time taking advantage of a pair of leadoff hits when Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to bring Jackie Bradley Jr. in from third. Once again, though, the Red Sox would manage to strand a pair, leaving both Mookie Betts and David Ortiz on base.
The waste would cost them. John Farrell tried to get one more inning out of his starter, but Jake Peavy allowed a double to open the eighth and was quickly pulled for Andrew Miller. Miller managed to get two outs, intentionally walking George Springer in the process, but was pulled for Junichi Tazawa without being given the chance to get a third. Tazawa didn't exactly fail in his task, getting Chris Carter to hit a weak chopper towards short, but Brock Holt had to go a ways to get to it, and his awkward flip to second pulled Dustin Pedroia away, allowing the go-ahead run to come in from third.
The Red Sox, of course, still had a chance to win it in the ninth. That's what this game was about, after all: wasted chances. A pair of one-out singles put them in prime position to tie the game, but Dustin Pedroia went chasing after an outside pitch and grounded into a double play which easily held up under replay scrutiny, ending Boston's night of frustration in fitting fashion.