BOSTON (AP) — George Springer hit his American League-leading 17th home run and the Houston Astros continued their torrid month of May with their ninth straight victory, 3-1 over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
Springer’s two-run shot in the eighth off Rick Porcello put the Astros up 2-1 and Houston held on. The Astros improved to 12-3 this month and matched the 2017 World Series championship team for the best start in franchise history at 30-15.
Will Harris (1-0) got the win with one scoreless inning of relief. Roberto Osuna picked up his 11th save, getting Mookie Betts to fly out to right with two runners on to end it. Boston went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.
Houston won the opener of the three-game series between the last two World Series winners and a rematch of last year’s ALCS, which Boston won in five games.
Christian Vazquez went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for Boston, which entered the game second to only Houston for the best record in May at 10-3.
Porcello (3-4) pitched seven shutout innings for Boston, but Houston caught up to him in the eighth. Jake Marisnick hit a leadoff a double and Springer followed with a drive over the Red Sox bullpen to the seats in left-center, putting Houston up 2-1.
Porcello was replaced by Ryan Brasier, who allowed an unearned run after walking Michael Brantley and running into some defensive problems. Brantley took second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch before scoring on Josh Reddick’s sacrifice fly to right.
Gerrit Cole pitched five scoreless innings for Houston, allowing six hits, walking one and striking out three. He was replaced by Hector Rondon, who allowed the game’s first run after Xander Bogaerts led off with an in infield single and scored on a single by Vazquez.
Boston had been 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position before Vazquez came through and put Boston up 1-0.
Porcello allowed two runs and six hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve (strained left hamstring) is “pain-free” and could start some fielding work in the next few days, manager A.J. Hinch said. The Astros placed Altuve on the 10-day IL retroactive to Saturday. Aledmys Diaz started at 2B, but left in the middle of the second inning after running out an infield single. The Astros said Diaz had “left hamstring discomfort.” He was replaced by Tony Kemp, who made a diving stop on a sharp grounder by Vazquez in the fourth and likely prevented a run from scoring.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. Pedroia, who has been limited to nine games over the past two seasons because of the knee, played five innings and went 1 for 3. Boston placed C Sandy Leon on the paternity leave list Friday and recalled Oscar Hernandez from Pawtucket. RHP Chandler Shepherd was designated for assignment.
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