Boston at Houston

W: D. Brocail (3-3) L: M. Delcarmen (0-2)
S: J. Valverde (20)
HR: BOS - M. Lowell (12)   HOU - M. Loretta (3), C. Lee (18), T. Wigginton (5)

Pair of rallies help Astros take first game of season from Red Sox wire reports

HOUSTON -- Lance Berkman refused to let a trio of strikeouts get him down.

The Houston Astros slugger atoned for them with a two-run double in the eighth inning Saturday night to lift them to an 11-10 win over the Boston Red Sox.

"I strike out 100 or more times a year, so three is not any insurmountable challenge," said Berkman, now batting .366 this season.

Mark Loretta hit a three-run homer and Carlos Lee added a solo shot and a two-run double for the Astros, who beat Boston for the first time in five all-time meetings.

Houston rallied from 4-0 and 9-6 deficits. Ty Wigginton tied it at 9 with a solo homer in the eighth off Manny Delcarmen (0-2), setting up Berkman's heroics.

Pinch-hitter Darin Erstad singled and went to second on Brad Ausmus' bunt. Hunter Pence walked before Berkman doubled to left, sending Houston over 10 runs for the first time since April 22.

"Once you're tied at home, it's anybody's game," Berkman said. "I'm glad that even after Ty hit the home run, we were able to produce the winning rally instead of languishing around for an hour or so in extra innings."

Delcarmen hadn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances, a span of 13 2/3 innings.

"I didn't feel any different than I have," he said. "My velocity was there. The pitch to Berkman was a good pitch. You can throw it well, but in baseball, it'll happen sometimes."

Doug Brocail (3-3) got two outs for the victory. Jose Valverde gave up a solo homer to Mike Lowell in the ninth, but struck out Jason Varitek to secure his 20th save.

Berkman struck out three times against Boston starter Jon Lester, whom he had never faced. He was happy to see the left-hander leave after the fifth inning, Lester's shortest outing in a month.

Batting left-handed, Berkman triggered the late comeback with an RBI single in the seventh off Craig Hansen.

"The one major difference was that Lester was off the mound," Berkman said. "It's batting right-handed for all three to going over to the left side, where I'm more comfortable."

The Astros made it 9-8 when a pitch by Hansen skipped by Varitek, allowing Pence to score.

Kevin Youkilis had two hits and three RBI and Manny Ramirez had a two-run double for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia continued a torrid month with four hits and an RBI, but Boston got an unusually poor performance from Lester, who gave up six runs on nine hits.

Lester had allowed two runs or fewer in his last four starts and hadn't given up more than four all season.

"I felt great," said Lester, who threw a season-low 76 pitches. "I thought I threw better than the line. When I went out and looked at the scoreboard, I thought I threw a hell of a lot better than the score said."

The Red Sox scored four runs in the third inning off Houston starter Brandon Backe, all with two outs. Pedroia started it with a single and J.D. Drew walked before Ramirez doubled for a 2-0 lead. Lowell followed with an RBI double that hit the top of the left-field scoreboard, inches from a home run, and Youkilis scored Lowell with a single to right.

Lester gave up three hits in the first two innings, then started the third by hitting Backe on the foot with a pitch. Michael Bourn beat out a bunt when Lowell bobbled the barehanded pickup and Pence advanced the runners with a groundout.

After Lester struck out Berkman for the second time, Lee singled to center to make it 4-2.

Miguel Tejada then hit a hard grounder off Lester's left foot. Lester bent over and athletic trainer Paul Lessard and manager Terry Francona ran out of the dugout to check on him. Lester threw two warmup pitches and said he was ready to continue, but Loretta hit his next pitch into the left-field porch to give Houston its first lead of the series at 5-4.

"You've got to tip your hat to Loretta," Lester said. "He was looking middle and in and I threw the ball right there."

Lee tacked on another run in the fifth with his 18th homer, a solo drive to left.

"We made some mistakes out over the plate and they hit every one of them," Francona said.

But the Red Sox still seemed to be in control after scoring five runs in the sixth, chasing Backe and retaking the lead off reliever Geoff Geary.

After Sean Casey struck out, Jacoby Ellsbury drove a liner that Pence misplayed in right field. Julio Lugo, who walked earlier in the inning, scored on what was ruled a triple.

After Geary relieved Backe, Pedroia tied it with a single, his 17th hit in his last 26 at-bats. Boston loaded the bases for Lowell, who had a sacrifice fly, and Youkilis followed with a double to make it 9-6.


  • Berkman struck out three times in a game for the third time this season.
  • Boston's pitchers are 0-for-22 at the plate with 16 strikeouts in interleague play.
  • Ellsbury started in CF for Coco Crisp, who began serving a five-game suspension for his role in a bench-clearing brawl in a June 5 game against Tampa Bay.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Jon Lester shakes off a line drive off his foot, but he still must deal with the pain of a losing effort.  (AP)
Jon Lester shakes off a line drive off his foot, but he still must deal with the pain of a losing effort. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Lee
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

M. Lowell
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 1

Related Video

Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5111010 .272
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5241000 .302
J.D. Drew, RF3210101 .309
Manny Ramirez, LF4212113 .286
Mike Lowell, 3B4243000 .297
Kevin Youkilis, 1B5023012 .314
Jason Varitek, C4000131 .228
Julio Lugo, SS3100113 .270
Jon Lester, P2000010 .000
   a- Sean Casey, PH1000011 .358
    David Aardsma, P1000010 .000
    Craig Hansen, P0000000 .000
    Manny Delcarmen, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Lester in the 6th
2B - Manny Ramirez (16, Backe), Mike Lowell 2 (18, Backe, Backe), Kevin Youkilis (22, Geary)
3B - Jacoby Ellsbury (4, Backe)
HR - Mike Lowell (12, Valverde)
SF - Mike Lowell (4)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (24), Dustin Pedroia (36), Manny Ramirez 2 (51), Mike Lowell 3 (46), Kevin Youkilis 3 (50)
2-OUT RBI - Manny Ramirez 2 (25), Mike Lowell (19), Kevin Youkilis 3 (18)
Team LOB - 6
PB - Jason Varitek (2)
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester 5966032 3.48
David Aardsma (H,4) 1121120 2.70
Craig Hansen (H,6) 1100000 4.50
Manny Delcarmen (BS,2; L,0-2) 1333111 3.97
HBP - Backe (by Jon Lester)
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 76-54, David Aardsma 25-14, Craig Hansen 20-15, Manny Delcarmen 30-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 4-7, Craig Hansen 1-2, Manny Delcarmen 2-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 24, David Aardsma 5, Craig Hansen 4, Manny Delcarmen 7
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4220111 .235
Hunter Pence, RF4210102 .266
Lance Berkman, 1B5023033 .366
Carlos Lee, LF5233003 .279
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Miguel Tejada, SS4110001 .288
Mark Loretta, 2B4113001 .254
Ty Wigginton, 3B4121000 .277
Humberto Quintero, C3000011 .243
   a- Darin Erstad, PH-LF1110000 .303
Brandon Backe, P1110000 .348
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   b- David Newhan, PH1000010 .300
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .250
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
   c- Brad Ausmus, PH-C0000000 .214
a-singled for Quintero in the 8th
b-struck out for Geary in the 6th
c-hit a sacrifice bunt for Brocail in the 8th
2B - Lance Berkman (27, Delcarmen), Ty Wigginton (12, Lester)
HR - Carlos Lee (18, Lester), Mark Loretta (3, Lester), Ty Wigginton (5, Delcarmen)
SH - Brad Ausmus (4)
RBI - Lance Berkman 3 (66), Carlos Lee 3 (62), Mark Loretta 3 (19), Ty Wigginton (13)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (28), Carlos Lee 2 (29), Mark Loretta 3 (11)
SB - Michael Bourn (31, 2nd base off Lester/Varitek)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
DP - Tejada-Loretta-Berkman
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe 5.1966350 5.12
Geoff Geary (BS,1) 0.2333100 3.18
Tim Byrdak 1.1000020 1.85
Doug Brocail (W,3-3) 0.2000000 3.18
Jose Valverde (S,20) 1111031 4.46
HBP - Drew (by Brandon Backe)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 108-67, Geoff Geary 23-13, Tim Byrdak 18-10, Doug Brocail 5-2, Jose Valverde 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 6-4, Tim Byrdak 2-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 28, Geoff Geary 5, Tim Byrdak 4, Doug Brocail 2, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 43073
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Jerry Crawford