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Red Sox 4, Astros 13: That’s a yikes

Nathan Eovaldi gives up five homers in the second.

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Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Nathan Eovaldi has had better nights. He’s had some big home run problems all year that he needs to sort out, but even with that in mind this was ridiculous. After Boston took an early lead, Eovaldi just totally fell apart in the second. He was leaving pitches over the plate all inning long, and the result was a record five homers hit against him in the inning. Throw in a grand slam for Houston in the fourth, and this was a runaway loss for the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

More robust game notes below.

It is hard to believe looking at the final score, but things actually went really well for the Red Sox early on in Wednesday’s game at Fenway, starting with Nathan Eovaldi getting the job done. For the second time this season he got through the first inning on only five pitches, looking like he was ready to cruise through the night against a good Astros lineup. That, of course, would change. But before that changed, Boston also took an early thanks to Rafael Devers. He’s been the team’s best player this season and he showed why here, absolutely demolishing a fastball left over the plate by Astros starter José Urquidy. Devers sent it for a 435-foot ride out to center field, and the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead.

That was the end of the good vibes from this game as Eovaldi came back out and had a historic second inning. Unfortunately, it was not the kind of history he was looking to make. The Red Sox ace has had some major home run problems all season, and they reared their ugly head in a big way in this second inning. It started with Yordan Alvarez, who led off the inning with a solo homer out to left field. Then, after Franchy Cordero let a runner on with an error on which he just didn’t catch a perfectly fine throw from Devers, Kyle Tucker smoked one out to right field for a two-run homer, putting Houston up 3-1.

They were only getting started. Jeremy Peña, who has had a very impressive rookie season replacing Carlos Correa, came up after Tucker and put one up and into the Monster Seats for a solo homer, the third dinger of the inning for Houston. Eovaldi finally got his first out of the inning after that, but Martín Maldonado reached on a bloop single before José Altuve smoked a double. With two in scoring position, it was Michael Brantley’s turn. The veteran isn’t typically thought of as a big power hitter, but he played that role here, putting one into the right field seats for a three-run shot. Yuli Gurriel gave Houston one more long ball for the inning, making it five in the second.

Eovaldi, who became the third pitcher ever to allow that many homers in a single inning, was lifted after that and has to just put this one behind him. He just left way too many pitches right down the heart of the plate, and Houston is the kind of team that is not going to miss those mistakes. It wasn’t just one pitch, either, as Alex Speier notes that the homers spread through his arsenal. And so he left with a 9-1 deficit and the game feeling over just two innings in, an amazing thing after cruising through a five-pitch first.

The Red Sox did show some fight to get back in the game in the third when J.D. Martinez blasted one over everything in left field for a two-run homer, cutting the deficit down to six. But that was as good as it was going to get for Red Sox fans in the game. Tyler Danish, who came in to finish the second for Eovaldi, was still in for the fourth and the game just got away if it wasn’t already there. Houston loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an error, this charged to Devers, bringing Tucker back to the plate. He hit his second homer of the game, this one a grand slam to make it a 10-run lead for Houston, and that was basically that.

After Danish, who got through that fourth inning but was done after those 2 13 innings, Hirokazu Sawamura got the call and gave Boston a much-needed clean fifth, striking out a pair in the process. Ryan Brasier then had the sixth and looked much better than the last time we saw him, allowing a single but nothing else in a scoreless inning of work. For the seventh, Alex Cora turned to Matt Barnes, who did give up a single but still only faced three batters thanks to an inning-ending double play. In the eighth, Jake Diekman worked around a double and a walk for a scoreless inning before Austin Davis came on for a scoreless ninth to finish out what actually ended up being a pretty solid showing for the bullpen.

As for the offense, they did add one more run in the fifth on an RBI double from Franchy Cordero, but clearly that was not close to enough. They’d drop this one 13-4.

The Red Sox look to put this one behind them on Wednesday in a rubber match against Houston. Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Boston while Luis Garcia starts for the Astros. First pitch is at 6:10 PM ET.


Courtesy of FanGraphs