BOSTON (AP) — Not many teams have had a great deal of luck against the Boston Red Sox rotation this year.
The Houston Astros continue to lead the short list of those that have.
Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez homered to back Framber Valdez, and the Astros ended Boston's five-game winning streak, beating the Red Sox 7-1 Tuesday night.
It was the Astros’ fourth win in five games against Boston this season after taking three of four last week in Houston. The Astros have outscored the Red Sox 26-10 overall.
Valdez (2-0) allowed one run and five hits over 7 1/3 innings, striking out eight to pick up his second straight win over Boston. He held the Red Sox to one run in seven innings last week.
“I felt good about the pitches I had and the adjustments I made,” Valdez said through an interpreter. “I just tried to pitch with intensity with every one of my pitches.”
Enoli Paredes got the final two outs in the eighth and Josh Taylor pitched a scoreless ninth.
“We chased 38% of the pitches against them last week,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We felt the at-bats were better than last week ... but (Valdez) was good overall.”
Red Sox starters entered the game having gone five or more innings 50 times in 2021, tied for the most in the majors.
But Boston starter Martín Pérez (4-3) lasted just two innings, allowing six runs off six hits. It was his shortest outing in 12 starts and stopped his streak of four consecutive wins.
“I think it was more him than us, but we capitalized on his ineffectiveness today," Astros manager Dusty Baker said.
Relievers Matt Andriese, Brandon Workman and Phillips Valdez combined to allow five hits and one run over the rest of the game.
Pérez was coming off pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Houston last week to lead Boston to its sole win in that four-game series.
The Astros made sure he had a much shorter outing in this one.
Correa put the Astros up 1-0 in the first, driving Pérez’s sixth pitch of the game down the left-field line and off the foul pole for his 11th home run of the season.
It turned out just to be the preamble to a deluge of Houston runs the following inning.
Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker led off a five-run second with back-to-back doubles and Martín Maldonado drove them in with his single into the left-field corner.
Myles Straw got aboard with a walk before Pérez finally got his first out of the inning, striking out Jose Altuve.
It was a brief reprieve.
Correa doubled to score Maldonaldo and after Pérez intentionally walked Alex Bergman to load the bases, he hit Alvarez, scoring Straw.
Yuli Gurriel then singled to make it 6-0.
Alvarez hit his eighth homer in the fourth.
Astros: Brantley was activated from the injured list after missing 12 games with a hamstring injury. He started in left field. … INF/OF Aledmys Diaz was placed on the 10-day IL with a broken left hand.
Red Sox: C Kevin Plawecki left the game in the third with a jaw contusion after taking a ball hard off his mask. He was replaced by Christian Vázquez. … Left-hander Chris Sale, who has yet to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2020, threw a bullpen session Tuesday. … DH J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup following a three-game absence after he jammed his left wrist sliding into a base against the Yankees last week.
Correa said he’s reduced the leg kick in his swing at the suggestion of the coaching staff. They didn’t adjust it for the first two months of the season but asked him to change it recently.
“I said ‘All right, I’m in,’” said Correa, who finished with three hits. “It’s been pretty consistent. I’m happy with how they approached it and how they explained it to me.”
Alvarez’s home run to straightaway center was estimated to have traveled 450 feet.
Baker said he’ll take them however they come.
“I don’t care if he would have hit it just in the first row,” Baker said. “Like Hank Aaron used to tell me, ‘It’s not how far, it’s how many.’”
Astros: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-3, 7.16 ERA) will be looking for his first win since Sept. 24, 2019 at Detroit. He’s gone nine straight starts without a win.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (7-2, 3.78) has won each of his last three starts and four consecutive decisions, his longest streak since 2016.
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