Nick Pivetta pitched his second career complete game and Rafael Devers had a pair of extra-base hits as the Boston Red Sox claimed the rubber match of their series with the visiting Houston Astros 5-1 on Wednesday.
Pivetta (2-4) was effective for a third consecutive outing and overcame an ominous start. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve in the first inning, with that 10-pitch confrontation culminating with Altuve driving a full-count fastball 385 feet out to center field. Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez recorded exit velocities of 101.6 and 103.5 miles per hour with their flyouts, but Pivetta limited the damage in the first to the Altuve home run.
Brantley was the first of 18 consecutive batters retired by Pivetta, who needed just 56 pitches after Altuve hit his eighth homer to complete the sixth. Brantley snapped that string with a leadoff double in the seventh but Pivetta retired the final six batters he faced, striking out Yuli Gurriel to cap the seventh before getting a called third strike on Jeremy Pena to end the eighth.
Pivetta allowed one run, two hits and recorded eight strikeouts. He did not walk a batter and threw 78 of his career-high 112 pitches for strikes. He has allowed two runs over his last three starts and 22 innings. It was the third nine-inning complete game in the majors this season.
Devers (2-for-3) tripled and scored in the first inning, coming home on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly that Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker snagged reaching into the stands to prevent a two-run homer. Houston right-hander Luis Garcia (3-2) surrendered the lead to the subsequent batter when shortstop Xander Bogaerts slugged his fourth home run as the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead.
Devers added an RBI double in third, driving home Enrique Hernandez, who reached on an error. Hernandez produced a run-scoring single in the fourth inning, following an RBI single by catcher Christian Vazquez that drove home Trevor Story with a hit that plated Franchy Cordero.
Garcia allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts over four innings. The Astros dropped their first series since losing the rubber match of a three-game set at Toronto on May 1.
--Field Level Media