HOUSTON — No matter the situation, the Boston Red Sox fought back time and time again Sunday to pull out a 12-inning victory.
Despite a short outing by their starter, leaning on the bullpen for more than eight innings and a blown save in the ninth, the Red Sox never caved en route to a 7-5 victory against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
“Whether it’s in extra innings tonight or other parts of the ballgame where we stake an early lead, give it back or fall behind, we continue to come back,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We’ve just had so many good at-bats here over the last week, it’s been great to see up and down the lineup.”
In the 12th inning, with runners on second and third, Jackie Bradley Jr. roped a slider into right field, scoring Hanley Ramirez for the go-ahead run. Astros reliever Ken Giles (0-2) surrendered another run when a fastball got away from him for a wild pitch, allowing Ryan Hanigan to score.
“I don’t know what I can do. I put everything on the line, made good pitches, got groundballs,” Giles said. “Things aren’t going my way right now.”
Dustin Pedroia paced the Red Sox with three hits. Bradley finished with two hits and two RBIs, and Ramirez, Mookie Betts and David Ortiz added two hits apiece for Boston.
The Astros (6-13) lost their first extra-inning game of the season, while the Red Sox (9-9) moved to 1-1 in extra-inning games. Boston took two of three in the weekend series.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you lose a game like this,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We showed a lot of character. We showed a lot of fight. We continued to make a mistake or two, which we aren’t a perfect team, but I do like the fight and resolve in this team that we showed tonight.”
The Red Sox’s sixth pitcher of the night, Heath Hembree, threw three scoreless innings for the win, allowing just two hits. Hembree (1-0) struck out four and didn’t issue a walk.
“It feels good to contribute to the team,” Hembree said. “Just try to get the wins.”
Houston’s Colby Rasmus forced extra innings when he blasted a ninth-inning Craig Kimbrel pitch into the Astros’ bullpen for a two-out, two-run shot that tied the game at 5.
Kimbrel blew a save for the first time in six chances since joining the Red Sox in the offseason.
“I wouldn’t say it was a bad pitch, but it was a bad pitch to him,” Kimbrel said. “He’s swinging the bat good. It was down, kind of into his swing, and he put a good swing on it and tied the game.”
In the past two games, Rasmus has two home runs and seven RBIs. He leads the team with seven long balls this season. In his last 37 games, Rasmus has 17 home runs and 35 RBIs.
“Well, some at-bats better than others,” Rasmus said. “Yeah, it feels good, man, but it’s tough. I don’t like to think of myself too much. I’m trying to do it for the boys and for the team and just trying to put some wins in the column. But, you know, I’m thankful and blessed to be doing it and just hope our team can turn and it can be for some W’s.”
Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez collected two hits each for Houston. Gonzalez homered, and Altuve stole two bases, though he also committed two errors.
The Red Sox didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. In the first inning with the bases loaded, Ramirez hit a grounder to third, scoring Betts, and Ramirez reached on a fielder’s choice. Initially, Ortiz was ruled out at second, but after a review, it was deemed that Altuve had not touched second for the out.
Travis Shaw followed with a run-scoring walk off Astros starter Scott Feldman, who struggled with his command early. Brock Holt then laced a sacrifice fly to right-center, scoring Ortiz making it 3-0.
The Red Sox scored in the first inning for the fifth game in a row. Since April 11, Boston has outscored its opponents 22-4 in the first inning.
This season, Houston has been outscored 27-16 in the opening inning.
In the second, the Astros got on the board using the home run ball. On a 0-1 pitch from Henry Owens, Gonzalez put one in the left field seats for his first home run of the season, making it 3-1. It was the first home run for Gonzalez since Sept. 29 at Seattle, snapping a 22-game, 39-at-bat homerless streak.
The Red Sox padded the lead to 5-1 thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles from Hanigan and Bradley in the third.
Four of the Red Sox’s first six hits were for extra bases, of which three were doubles, increasing Boston’s major-league-leading doubles total to 47.
In the bottom of the third, Houston scratched back two runs. Tyler White recorded his 13th RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly to right-center, and Gattis got his first RBI of the year with a single to center, making it 5-3.
Owens, in his first start of the season, lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out and walking four.
Feldman was done after 4 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits. He struck out three and walked four.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Red Sox called up LHP Henry Owens and RHP Pat Light from Triple-A Pawtucket, and they sent down LHP Roenis Elias and RHP Noe Ramirez. … After the game, the Astros called up RHP Michael Feliz from Triple-A Fresno and sent down OF Jake Marisnick. … Boston SS Xander Bogaerts returned to the lineup Sunday after being hit in the right wrist with a pitch Friday. … Astros RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) threw another bullpen session Sunday, his second session in three days. McCullers will leave for extended spring training in Florida on Sunday night. … Houston 1B Tyler White returned to the lineup Sunday after getting a day off. … Astros DH Evan Gattis may get an opportunity to catch a few innings in a game soon. It would be his first time catching since 2014, when he was with the Atlanta Braves.