Devers homers, Red Sox avoid sweep with 4-1 win over Astros

HOUSTON (AP) Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked after a 4-1 win over the Astros if he uses the two recent series against Houston as a measuring stick for how good his team is.

''No, I don't,'' Cora said with a grin. ''If I say that, then they've got bragging rights.''

Rafael Devers homered off Justin Verlander, and the Red Sox capitalized on two Houston errors to avoid a three-game sweep Sunday.

The banged-up Astros lost for just the fifth time in 22 games and finished the regular season 4-2 against the Red Sox, who beat them 4-1 in the ALCS last season on the way to a World Series championship.

''You see the scores,'' said Cora, the Astros' bench coach for their 2017 title before heading to Boston. ''I know it's early and I know where they're at and I know where we're at. We just both match up well. There are no secrets. It's all execution. There were certain days where we didn't execute, and today, they made some errors and we took advantage of that.''

Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3) held Houston to one run and four hits in six innings, improving to 5-1 in his last eight starts.

It was exactly the bounce-back outing he was hoping for after allowing six runs over five innings in a loss to Toronto last time out.

''It feels really good,'' Rodriguez said. ''I've been working these past four days on how I'm going to pitch, the game plan and everything, and it worked pretty good.''

Devers' solo shot to center field in the fourth gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. It was Devers' seventh homer of the season and fourth in six games.

Boston extended its lead to 3-1 during a sloppy fifth inning for the AL West leaders. A one-out double by Eduardo Nunez was followed by errors from second baseman Yuli Gurriel and third baseman Alex Bregman on back-to-back plays, allowing Nunez to score.

''We didn't play well, and we missed an opportunity to sweep those guys and really just misfired on a day where (Verlander) pitched well enough to keep us in the game and win,'' Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ''I think we allowed ourselves to play a little mentally tired, a little physically tired. We're beat up a little bit, so it wasn't our day.''

Verlander (8-2) permitted three runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking none. He got his 2,800th career strikeout in the fourth against Michael Chavis and finished his day five strikeouts shy of Cy Young's 2,806 for 21st all-time.

Verlander also threw two wild pitches, both in the third inning, after entering with none in 72 1/3 innings this season.

''Against a lineup like that, you've got to limit baserunners, so when they get a couple guys on with infield hits, that makes it really tough,'' Verlander said. ''I was pleased to be able to keep the damage to a minimum but not happy with the results, obviously. We play this game to win, and we weren't able to do that.''

Houston went up 1-0 in the first when Aledmys Diaz scored from second on a single by Carlos Correa that deflected off Devers' glove at third base into shallow left field. Christian Vazquez couldn't handle Nunez's bouncing throw to the plate.

After the play, Diaz left the game with left hamstring discomfort. Gurriel moved to second base and Tyler White entered at first.

Hinch said after the game Diaz is likely headed to the injured list.

The Red Sox tied it in the second on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Benintendi that scored Steve Pearce.

Boston added an insurance run to make it 4-1 in the ninth. A walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. was followed by a balk from Framber Valdez, a passed ball and a groundout from Nunez that scored Bradley.

Marcus Walden pitched a scoreless inning for his second major league save and first this season.

ROSTER REPORT

Boston recalled top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland and optioned RHP Colten Brewer to Triple-A Pawtucket. Hernandez, a 22-year-old left-hander, made his major league debut April 23 against Detroit, throwing 2 1/3 innings with one walk, four strikeouts and four hits allowed.

ANOTHER CLOSER

Walden's save made him the fifth Red Sox pitcher to earn one this season. Cora said the diversity in the approach to relief pitching without a traditional closer is a testament to the leverage reliever Matt Barnes gives him in often facing the meat of the opposing lineup regardless of the inning.

''It's all because of Barnes,'' Cora said. ''He can do cool stuff, pitching in the eighth and the ninth and the heart of the order. We've got some guys stepping up to help take care of him.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price (illness) could start Tuesday or Wednesday against Cleveland after lasting just three batters and 15 pitches before leaving Saturday's start against Houston. ... INF Brock Holt (shoulder) went through a full workout and will likely be activated and available on Monday against Cleveland.

Astros: C Max Stassi (left knee soreness) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Garrett Stubbs was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to back up Robinson Chirinos and could make his first major league start Tuesday, Hinch said. ... 2B Jose Altuve (hamstring) was set to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday night.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.45 ERA) will face the Indians when the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park on Monday. Boston is 6-1 in Porcello's last seven starts. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (1-4, 4.08) goes for Cleveland.

Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11) pitches Monday against the Cubs, looking to improve on his 9-3 career record versus Chicago and add to his MLB-leading 100 strikeouts. LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38) gets the ball for the Cubs.

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Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
BOS28-25
001110001470
HOU35-19
100000000142
  • W: E. Rodriguez (5-3)L: J. Verlander (8-2)S: M. Walden (1)
  • HR: BOS - R. Devers (7)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Benintendi LF40010010.260.353.406.7592.5
M. Betts RF40100001.291.404.482.8873.0
R. Devers 3B41211002.330.393.508.9009.0
J. Martinez DH40100023.301.387.506.8930.0
M. Chavis 2B30000131.270.364.533.897-0.5
C. Vazquez C40000023.290.331.493.824-1.0
S. Pearce 1B41100001.179.247.250.4972.0
J. Bradley CF31000101.163.259.261.5202.0
E. Nunez SS41210000.205.220.273.4935.0
E. Rodriguez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
B. Workman P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
M. Barnes P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
M. Walden P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    A. Diaz 2B11100000.286.321.510.8312.0
    T. White 1B20000022.232.319.313.632-1.0
    a- T. Kemp PH-2B00000100.227.298.387.6841.0
    A. Bregman 3B40100002.262.390.546.9372.0
    M. Brantley DH40000013.320.368.537.905-0.5
    C. Correa SS30110101.295.360.547.9073.0
    Y. Gurriel 1B-2B-1B40000022.257.296.403.699-1.0
    J. Reddick RF40000000.325.378.444.8210.0
    R. Chirinos C30000030.240.371.463.834-1.5
    J. Marisnick CF20000010.278.340.546.8860.5
    D. Fisher LF30100010.250.250.250.5000.5
    J. Verlander P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    J. James P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    F. Valdez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    • a-walked for White in the 8th
    BATTING
    • 2B - E. Nunez (3)
    • HR - R. Devers (7)
    • SF - A. Benintendi (3)
    • RBI - A. Benintendi (22), R. Devers (30), E. Nunez (11)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - M. Betts, J. Martinez 2 (2), C. Vazquez 2 (2), S. Pearce
    BATTING
    • 2B - A. Bregman (7)
    • RBI - C. Correa (35)
    • 2-Out RBI - C. Correa (8)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - T. White 2 (2), M. Brantley, Y. Gurriel 2 (2)
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - A. Benintendi (6), M. Betts (6), R. Devers (7)
    BASERUNNING
    • Picked Off - C. Correa
    FIELDING
    • PB - C. Vazquez (6)
    FIELDING
    • E - A. Bregman (5), Y. Gurriel (2)
    • PB - R. Chirinos
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    E. Rodriguez (W, 5-3)6.04111505.041.4024.5
    B. Workman (H, 10)1.00000202.310.994.0
    M. Barnes (H, 8)1.00001202.140.953.0
    M. Walden (S, 1)1.00000101.480.7910.5
    PITCHERSIP
    E. Rodriguez (W, 5-3)6.0
    B. Workman (H, 10)1.0
    M. Barnes (H, 8)1.0
    M. Walden (S, 1)1.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Verlander (L, 8-2)7.06330612.380.7413.0
    J. James1.01001204.551.302.0
    F. Valdez1.00101003.681.412.0
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Verlander (L, 8-2)7.0
    J. James1.0
    F. Valdez1.0
    PITCHING
    • HBP - E. Rodriguez (3)
    • Pitches-Strikes - E. Rodriguez 98-63, B. Workman 17-11, M. Barnes 23-14, M. Walden 9-8
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - E. Rodriguez 7-5, M. Walden 1-1
    • Batters Faced - E. Rodriguez 23, B. Workman 3, M. Barnes 4, M. Walden 3
    PITCHING
    • WP - J. Verlander 2 (2)
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 103-75, J. James 19-11, F. Valdez 15-7
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 4-12, F. Valdez 1-2
    • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 28, J. James 5, F. Valdez 4
    • Balks - F. Valdez
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    BOS28-25
    001110001470
    HOU35-19
    100000000142
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    A. Benintendi LF40010010.260.353.406.7592.5
    M. Betts RF40100001.291.404.482.8873.0
    R. Devers 3B41211002.330.393.508.9009.0
    J. Martinez DH40100023.301.387.506.8930.0
    M. Chavis 2B30000131.270.364.533.897-0.5
    C. Vazquez C40000023.290.331.493.824-1.0
    S. Pearce 1B41100001.179.247.250.4972.0
    J. Bradley CF31000101.163.259.261.5202.0
    E. Nunez SS41210000.205.220.273.4935.0
    E. Rodriguez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    B. Workman P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    M. Barnes P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    M. Walden P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    Total3447312812-----
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      A. Diaz 2B11100000.286.321.510.8312.0
      T. White 1B20000022.232.319.313.632-1.0
      a- T. Kemp PH-2B00000100.227.298.387.6841.0
      A. Bregman 3B40100002.262.390.546.9372.0
      M. Brantley DH40000013.320.368.537.905-0.5
      C. Correa SS30110101.295.360.547.9073.0
      Y. Gurriel 1B-2B-1B40000022.257.296.403.699-1.0
      J. Reddick RF40000000.325.378.444.8210.0
      R. Chirinos C30000030.240.371.463.834-1.5
      J. Marisnick CF20000010.278.340.546.8860.5
      D. Fisher LF30100010.250.250.250.5000.5
      J. Verlander P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
      J. James P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
      F. Valdez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
      Total30141021010-----
      • a-walked for White in the 8th
      BATTING
      • 2B - E. Nunez (3)
      • HR - R. Devers (7)
      • SF - A. Benintendi (3)
      • RBI - A. Benintendi (22), R. Devers (30), E. Nunez (11)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - M. Betts, J. Martinez 2 (2), C. Vazquez 2 (2), S. Pearce
      BATTING
      • 2B - A. Bregman (7)
      • RBI - C. Correa (35)
      • 2-Out RBI - C. Correa (8)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - T. White 2 (2), M. Brantley, Y. Gurriel 2 (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - A. Benintendi (6), M. Betts (6), R. Devers (7)
      BASERUNNING
      • Picked Off - C. Correa
      FIELDING
      • PB - C. Vazquez (6)
      FIELDING
      • E - A. Bregman (5), Y. Gurriel (2)
      • PB - R. Chirinos
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      E. Rodriguez (W, 5-3)6.04111505.041.4024.5
      B. Workman (H, 10)1.00000202.310.994.0
      M. Barnes (H, 8)1.00001202.140.953.0
      M. Walden (S, 1)1.00000101.480.7910.5
      Total9.04112100---
      PITCHERSIP
      E. Rodriguez (W, 5-3)6.0
      B. Workman (H, 10)1.0
      M. Barnes (H, 8)1.0
      M. Walden (S, 1)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Verlander (L, 8-2)7.06330612.380.7413.0
      J. James1.01001204.551.302.0
      F. Valdez1.00101003.681.412.0
      Total9.0743281---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Verlander (L, 8-2)7.0
      J. James1.0
      F. Valdez1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • HBP - E. Rodriguez (3)
      • Pitches-Strikes - E. Rodriguez 98-63, B. Workman 17-11, M. Barnes 23-14, M. Walden 9-8
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - E. Rodriguez 7-5, M. Walden 1-1
      • Batters Faced - E. Rodriguez 23, B. Workman 3, M. Barnes 4, M. Walden 3
      PITCHING
      • WP - J. Verlander 2 (2)
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 103-75, J. James 19-11, F. Valdez 15-7
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 4-12, F. Valdez 1-2
      • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 28, J. James 5, F. Valdez 4
      • Balks - F. Valdez
      • 9TH INNING
        Nunez grounded out to second, Bradley scored41
      • 5TH INNING
        Benintendi safe at first on 1st baseman Gurriel fielding error, Nunez scored31
      • 4TH INNING
        Devers homered to center21
      • 3RD INNING
        Benintendi hit sacrifice fly to center, Pearce scored11
      • 1ST INNING
        Correa singled to shallow left, Diaz scored, Correa to second01
      • 9TH INNING
        • Framber Valdez relieved Josh James
        • S. Pearce: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Pearce lined out to right
        • J. Bradley: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Bradley walked
        • E. Nunez: Bradley to second on balk, Ball, Ball, Bradley to third on passed ball, Ball, Nunez grounded out to second, Bradley scored
        • A. Benintendi: Benintendi flied out to right
        • Middle of the 9th (1 Run, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Marcus Walden relieved Matt Barnes
        • Ca. Correa: Strike looking, Correa grounded out to shortstop
        • Y. Gurriel: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gurriel struck out swinging
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Reddick flied out to deep right
        • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Josh James relieved Justin Verlander
        • M. Betts: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Betts flied out to deep right
        • R. Devers: Devers singled to shallow right center
        • JD. Martinez: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Martinez struck out swinging
        • M. Chavis: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Devers stole second, Ball, Chavis walked
        • C. Vazquez: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Vazquez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • Matt Barnes relieved Brandon Workman
        • D. Fisher: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Fisher struck out swinging
        • Tony Kemp hit for Tyler White
        • T. Kemp: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Kemp walked
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Bregman flied out to center
        • M. Brantley: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Brantley struck out looking
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • J. Bradley: Bradley popped out to shortstop
        • E. Nunez: Strike looking, Foul, Nunez grounded out to third
        • A. Benintendi: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Benintendi lined out to center
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Brandon Workman relieved Eduardo Rodriguez
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Reddick flied out to left
        • R. Chirinos: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Chirinos struck out swinging
        • J. Marisnick: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Marisnick struck out looking
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • M. Chavis: Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Chavis struck out swinging
        • C. Vazquez: Vazquez lined out to center
        • S. Pearce: Pearce grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • M. Brantley: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Brantley grounded out to shortstop
        • Ca. Correa: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Correa walked
        • Y. Gurriel: Foul, Foul, Ball, Correa out at first, Gurriel popped out to second
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • J. Bradley: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Bradley flied out to center
        • E. Nunez: Ball, Ball, Nunez doubled to left center
        • A. Benintendi: Strike swinging, Benintendi safe at first on 1st baseman Gurriel fielding error, Nunez scored
        • M. Betts: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Benintendi stole second, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Betts reached on an infield single to shortstop, Benintendi to third on 3rd baseman Bregman throwing error
        • R. Devers: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Betts stole second, Devers popped out to shortstop
        • JD. Martinez: Strike looking, Martinez fouled out to first
        • Middle of the 5th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 2 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • D. Fisher: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Fisher grounded out to first
        • T. White: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, White struck out looking
        • A. Bregman: Strike swinging, Foul, Bregman lined out to center
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • R. Devers: Ball, Devers homered to center
        • JD. Martinez: Strike (foul tip), Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Martinez singled to deep left
        • M. Chavis: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Chavis struck out looking
        • C. Vazquez: Strike looking, Vazquez flied out to deep right
        • S. Pearce: Strike looking, Pearce lined out to third
        • Middle of the 4th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Reddick flied out to center
        • R. Chirinos: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Chirinos struck out looking
        • J. Marisnick: Marisnick flied out to deep right
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • S. Pearce: Foul, Strike swinging, Pearce reached on an infield single to shortstop
        • J. Bradley: Ball, Pearce to second on wild pitch, Ball, Bradley grounded out to first, Pearce to third
        • E. Nunez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Nunez reached on an infield single to shortstop
        • A. Benintendi: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Nunez to second on wild pitch, Ball, Foul, Benintendi hit sacrifice fly to center, Pearce scored
        • M. Betts: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Betts fouled out to first
        • Middle of the 3rd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • A. Bregman: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Bregman doubled to left
        • M. Brantley: Ball, Ball, Brantley grounded out to second, Bregman to third
        • Ca. Correa: Ball, Correa grounded out to third
        • Y. Gurriel: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Gurriel flied out to left
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • Tyler White at first base
        • JD. Martinez: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Martinez struck out swinging
        • M. Chavis: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Chavis struck out looking
        • C. Vazquez: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul tip, Vazquez struck out on foul tip
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Reddick grounded out to shortstop
        • R. Chirinos: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Chirinos struck out swinging
        • J. Marisnick: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Marisnick hit by pitch
        • D. Fisher: Ball, Fisher singled to left, Marisnick to second
        • T. White: Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, White struck out swinging
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • A. Benintendi: Foul, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Benintendi struck out swinging
        • M. Betts: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Betts flied out to right
        • R. Devers: Strike swinging, Devers flied out to center
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • E. Rodriguez Pitching:
        • A. Diaz: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Diaz singled to shallow right center
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Bregman grounded out to third, Diaz to second
        • M. Brantley: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Brantley grounded out to shortstop
        • Ca. Correa: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Correa singled to shallow left, Diaz scored, Correa to second
        • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Correa to third on passed ball, Strike looking, Gurriel struck out looking
        • End of the 1st (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)