|Houston (38-43) «||0||0||5||0||1||0||2||3||x||11||14||0|
HOUSTON -- Lance Berkman refused to let a trio of strikeouts get him down.
"I strike out 100 or more times a year, so three is not any insurmountable challenge," said Berkman, now batting .366 this season.
"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."
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 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.
|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|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||5||1||1||1||0||1||0||.272|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||2||4||1||0||0||0||.302|
|J.D. Drew, RF||3||2||1||0||1||0||1||.309|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||2||1||2||1||1||3||.286|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||4||2||4||3||0||0||0||.297|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||5||0||2||3||0||1||2||.314|
|Jason Varitek, C||4||0||0||0||1||3||1||.228|
|Julio Lugo, SS||3||1||0||0||1||1||3||.270|
|Jon Lester, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|a- Sean Casey, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.358|
|David Aardsma, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Craig Hansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Manny Delcarmen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.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|
|David Aardsma (H,4)||1||1||2||1||1||2||0||2.70|
|Craig Hansen (H,6)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.50|
|Manny Delcarmen (BS,2; L,0-2)||1||3||3||3||1||1||1||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|
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||2||2||0||1||1||1||.235|
|Hunter Pence, RF||4||2||1||0||1||0||2||.266|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||5||0||2||3||0||3||3||.366|
|Carlos Lee, LF||5||2||3||3||0||0||3||.279|
|Jose Valverde, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.288|
|Mark Loretta, 2B||4||1||1||3||0||0||1||.254|
|Ty Wigginton, 3B||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.277|
|Humberto Quintero, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.243|
|a- Darin Erstad, PH-LF||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.303|
|Brandon Backe, P||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.348|
|Geoff Geary, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- David Newhan, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.300|
|Tim Byrdak, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Doug Brocail, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Brad Ausmus, PH-C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.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|
|Geoff Geary (BS,1)||0.2||3||3||3||1||0||0||3.18|
|Doug Brocail (W,3-3)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.18|
|Jose Valverde (S,20)||1||1||1||1||0||3||1||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|
|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|