Not even playing five hours and three minutes or 12 innings of baseball or a bottom of the ninth two run two out jack from Colby Rasmus were enough to give the Houston Astros back-to-back wins for the first time in 2016. A 7-5 extra inning loss means the Houston flight to Seattle will be a long and disappointing one. The baseball marathon ended in the wee hours of Monday morning long after many of the 30,000 plus in attendance and many in the nationally televised audience had found their way to a restful bed.
Houston’ early inning woes continued. For the time in 2016, the Houston Astros found themselves on the short end of the stick after one inning of play. Houston starter Scott Feldman took the hill and immediately surrendered game opening hits to Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia. The Red Sox turned that beginning into a three run first.
“We started out from behind again and put us in something of a little bit of a hole,” recounted a disappointed Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “We stabilized it, Devenski came inand did a terrific job (3.1IP, 3 hits,2 strikeouts) Neshek came in did his part and Sipp came in and did his part. Gregorson came in and gave us two innings,then we run into a 13 pitch at bat with hanigan and that’s the game.”
The Astros managed to get a run back on third baseman Marwin Gonzalez’ first home run of the season in the second.
In the third though, the uncharacterstic play of the Astros continued again in 2016. An error by Gold Glove second baseman Jose Altuve kept the inning alive and Boston made Feldman pay hitting back-to-back rbi doubles from Ryan Hanigan and Jackie Braadley Jr. to buld the lead to 5-1.
“We had a few errors early and then late we had some terrific defensive plays,” continued Hinch talking about the George Springer’s two big throws to cut down baserunners. The Astros right-fielder threw out Hanley Ramirez trying to score from third in the seventh and then gunning out David Ortiz trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the ninth.
In the Houston third, George Springer and Carlos Correa reached and later scored on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Tyler White and an rbi single from designated hitter Evan Gattis cut the deficit to two once more.
Two innings later, the game was in the hands of the bullpen and both shutdown the opposition until the ninth. With two outs, Correa ripped a double into right and two pitches later Rasmus launched his 425 foot blast to tie the game. The left-handed clean-up hitter’s home run was his first career hit off Boston reliever Craig Kimbrel and his second in as many games.
“Colby can come through in the most critical time with the best if them,” said manager A.J. HInch before the ballgame about Rasmus’ grandslam the night before only to have him hit another critical homerun again one game later. “The consistency of his strike zone judgement has gotten better and better dating back to last year. at the end of the year and then obviously through the playoffs His command of his body in the batter’s box and his control in the strike zone doing damage on damage pitches has been remarkably consistent.”
The seventh home run of the season for Rasmus tied him with Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg as the only players in franchise history to hit seven long balls in the team’s first 19 games of a season. Houston’s bullpen meanwhile was hurling four and two thirds inning of four hit shutout baseball. They finished the game pitching seven and two thirds innings of two run baseball. Boston hurlers until the ninth had contained the Astros attack on two hits over four and two thirds innings.For the game, the Red Sox pen finished with eight and two thirds innings of two run baseball.
“It’s a tough loss because of how we did battle back,” concluded Hinch after the series ending loss. “We lost the battle at the end. They did more than we did so it’s bitter pill to swallow because you did lose a game like this.”
Boston scored two in the top of the twelfth off reliever Ken Giles. With the bases loaded, a Giles wild pitch scored the go-ahead run and then Bradley Jr. delivered the insurance run with an rbi single.
The five hour plus marathon was the fourth largest in Minute Maid Park history and marked the first extra inning game for Houston in 2016. The loss dropped Houston to 6-13 on the season as they head to Seattle while Boston evened its record at 9-9.