Red Sox

Moreland walks off Red Sox to avoid sweep by Astros

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Moreland walks off Red Sox to avoid sweep by Astros

BOSTON -- Mitch Moreland put some recent struggles behind him with a clutch hit in the ninth inning. Helped the major league-leading Boston Red Sox do the same with their weekend woes, too.

Moreland singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth and the Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 6-5 on Sunday night to avoid a three-game sweep in a matchup of AL division leaders.

"Yeah, I'll take those every time if I could," he said, breaking into a grin. "It was at the right time to do it, I guess."

Coming into the game in a 2-for-26 slump, the first baseman had a pinch-hit single in the eighth before his walkoff bloop.

"Yeah, he gets jammed and he gets a single," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, adding "we need this guy to get going offensively. We know how good he is."

With runners on first and second, Moreland sent his opposite-single to left against Hector Rondon (2-3), and pinch-runner Tzu-Wei Lin raced home easily. Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez tried to barehand the ball for a quick throw but lost his grip and let it dribble toward the Green Monster.

J.D. Martinez hit his 40th homer and drove in four for Boston, which snapped Houston's seven-game winning streak even after the Astros rallied with a four-run sixth inning to tie the game at 5.

The East-leading Red Sox sliced their magic number to 11 for their third straight division title. Boston leads the second-place Yankees by 8 1/2 games after they lost at Seattle.

Jose Altuve and Gonzalez each hit a solo homer for the West-leading Astros, who saw their lead over Oakland cut to 2 1/2 games. The Athletics beat Texas earlier in the day.

"This was a really good game, really good series," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "We win this series, which is one of the goals coming into this."

Craig Kimbrel (5-1) pitched a perfect ninth to preserve a tie.

Trailing 5-1 in the sixth, the Astros rallied against starter Rick Porcello and Boston's recently struggling bullpen. Altuve led off with a shot over the Monster, Tyler Whitehad a two-run double off Heath Hembree, and Josh Reddick hit a tying double off Brian Johnson.

Boston had built its lead on Martinez's three-run shot an inning earlier. Martinez's sacrifice fly had pushed Boston ahead 2-1 in the third.

"Just one mistake pitch to J.D.," Houston starter Dallas Keuchel said after giving up five runs in six innings. "I knew he was swinging. We have a long history together."

The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning, but reliever Tony Sipp entered and struck out pinch-hitters Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez.

Porcello gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

LONG WAIT

There was a 3-minute, 50-second review of a key play at the plate where Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon jumped for a throw from shortstop Xander Bogaerts to get Altuve in the seventh. He was called out, and replays were inconclusive on if the tag was applied before he touched the plate with his left hand.

"He did get in there. It's clear as day," Hinch said. "I'm tired of these questions because replay's set up for precisely that type of play, and we feel like we have clear evidence."

CLUB MILESTONE

Martinez became just the fourth Red Sox player to hit 40 homers in his first season with the team.

Dick Stuart had 42 in 1963, Jimmie Foxx 41 in `36 and Manny Ramirez hit 41 in 2011.

HOUSTON INVASION

There was a large contingent of Astros fans all weekend, filling Fenway Park, restaurants and bars in the area. The Houston Texans faced the New England Patriots about 45 minutes away in Foxborough, Massachusetts, earlier in the day.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Lefty Chris Sale is still set to be activated off the disabled list and start Tuesday. Cora said the plan is for the ace to go about two innings the first time as he gradually works back from mild left shoulder inflammation that landed him on the DL twice in less than three weeks.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (14-9, 2.73 ERA) is scheduled to pitch in Detroit on Monday for the first time since being traded last season by the Tigers. LHP Francisco Liriano (4-9, 4.90) is slated to start for the Tigers.

Red Sox: After an off day, Sale (12-4, 1.97) is set to face Toronto LHP Ryan Borucki (3-4, 4.39) when the teams open a three-game series Tuesday at Fenway.

David Price acknowledges reasons he stayed with Red Sox

David Price acknowledges reasons he stayed with Red Sox

David Price had an opportunity to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox this offseason. He could have chosen to forego the last four years on his deal to pursue a new contract or join a different team. He put that speculation to bed early in the offseason by opting in to stay with the Red Sox for the long haul.

Price had a tumultuous start to his Red Sox career, but he made a name for himself in the team's 2018 postseason run. He recorded three wins, including the decisive World Series victory, and finally shook off his previous postseason struggles.

In an exclusive interview with NESN's Adam London, Price laid out exactly why he chose to stay in Boston.

It wasn’t a difficult decision. I mean, I don’t want to pitch against this team. If I chose to go somewhere else and went to the National League or another team, the Red Sox aren’t a team you want to pitch against. I like our chances of winning ever since I’ve been here. I knew when I signed in Boston I was gonna have a chance to compete for a championship year in and year out. That, to me, is what I wanted. To have the opportunity to compete for a championship and to be surrounded by a lot of really good youth. That’s the two things that Boston offers, along with being able to get free agents. Whatever free agent we want we can go and get. To have those three things, that’s a recipe for success and that was why I came here.

Price's reasoning seems logical here. The Red Sox are one of the best, young teams in the MLB and they should continue to grow despite winning 108 games and a World Series title last season. They project to be contenders for the duration of Price's four-year deal, so with winning apparently mattering the most to him, staying put is a good move.

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Bobby Dalbec shows why he's become a top Red Sox prospect

Bobby Dalbec shows why he's become a top Red Sox prospect

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sure, it was against a college team, but Red Sox third base prospect Bobby Dalbec made his presence felt on Friday.

Dalbec, Boston’s clean-up hitter vs Northeastern, stepped up to the plate in the second inning and blasted a mammoth home run to dead center field. The 23-year-old has a reputation as one of the organization’s best power-hitting prospects, so for him to drill the first homer of the spring was fitting.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked after the 6-0 win if he was impressed by Dalbec -- a pitcher while playing for the University of Arizona -- even though the homer came off a college ballclub.

“Yeah,” Cora said. “When he came into the dugout I said hey I was wrong, I thought you were gonna be a pitcher.”

“You can see it, you know. Like he has a pretty good idea what he wants to do at the plate. The strikeouts, they happen but certain situations he’ll put the ball in play which is what we like.”

Dalbec had 32 home runs in 2018 between his stints with Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland. While it’s fairly unlikely he plays at the big-league level this season, look for the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder to make an impact at Triple-A Pawtucket.

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