After failing to get a single victory in their first eight games at the oldest stadium in the American League, the Astros took two of the final three games of the weekend series. A gritty performance from McHugh and a second inning grand slam by Altuve proved to be too much for the Sox to overcome.
Altuve’s big blast came in the second inning. With the Astros already leading 2-0, Boston starter Joe Kelly appeared to get out of the inning with a double-play grounder. However, Bo Porter challenged the call at second base and replays clearly showed that Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts threw the ball to first base before stepping on second. The call was overturned and the inning continued with two outs and runners at second and third.
Robbie Grossman drew a walk to load the bases and Altuve sent a fly ball over the green monster in leftfield to make it 6-0 Astros. Red Sox manager John Farrell immediately came out to protest and was ejected from the game by first-base umpire Doug Eddings.
Jose Altuve is all smiles after his second inning grand slam (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Farrell’s complaint was undoubtedly about the umpiring crew’s interpretation of the replay rules. The “neighborhood play” at second base is not a reviewable call.
Despite the supposed intent of the new replay rules to help avoid injuries to players, (which is a complete crock of you know what, by the way) this was an instance in which a bad call was made on the field and the review made it right. Period. Plain and simple. End of discussion. Whether you are for or against replay, or however you interpret the rules, this time the right call was made.
The replay ordeal, and the massive homerun, seemed to zap the energy out of the Red Sox. McHugh held the Sox to one run over six innings despite not having his best stuff. Dexter Fowler and Jon Singleton added solo shots of their own and three Astros relievers sealed the deal with one scoreless inning apiece.
McHugh notched his sixth win of the year and lowered his ERA to an even three. Altuve collected four hits, raising his league leading average to .339.
The Astros have an off day on Monday before Brett Oberholtzer takes the mound Tuesday in the first game of a 3-game series at Yankee Stadium. I’ll be talking more about this young Astros team and the upcoming series against the Yankees tonight at 9:30 Central on the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show. Be sure to check it out.