Jake Marisnick homered early off Chris Sale, then made two dazzling defensive plays in center field to help the Houston Astros beat the mistake-prone Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Friday night.
In a matchup of the last two World Series winners, the Red Sox committed three errors, not looking nearly as sharp as they did in their last visit to Minute Maid Park when they captured the pennant with a 4-1 win in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series in October. The Astros took two of three last weekend at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox did end Ryan Pressly’s MLB-record streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances when Jackie Bradley Jr. launched the first pitch from the Houston reliever for a home run in the eighth inning.
Wade Miley (5-2) yielded four hits and two runs in six innings, striking out a season-high eight to win his fourth straight decision.
All of Boston’s errors came in the first four innings to help the Astros build a 4-0 lead. Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer in the sixth and Bradley made it 4-2.
Christian Vázquez homered off Roberto Osuna with two outs in the ninth, but the Houston closer struck out Bradley for his 13th save.
Sale (1-6) gave up three hits and four runs, but only two of them were earned, in six innings. He struck out five after fanning 10 or more in each of his last four starts — he struck out 10 against the Astros in his previous outing, getting a no-decision in a game Boston eventually won.
Marisnick robbed Andrew Benintendi of a hit with a diving catch in the fifth. Marisnick got him again for the first out of the ninth when he sprinted to make a nifty, over-the-shoulder catch at the wall.
Boston’s J.D. Martinez and Houston’s George Springer both returned to the lineup after each sat out the previous four games because of back problems. But Springer left the game in the eighth when he was injured sliding to try and catch a foul ball. The team didn’t provide details of the injury.
The defensive struggles for the Red Sox began in the second inning. Aledmys Diaz singled with one out and reached second on a wild pitch by Sale. He scored when Josh Reddick reached on a throwing error by first baseman Steve Pearce.
Marisnick hit a solo homer in the third. Houston added two runs in the fourth on a wild throw home by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and a sacrifice fly by Springer.
Miley retired the first 10 batters, striking out six. He got Martinez to ground into an inning-ending double play in the fourth with two runners on, and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out Bradley and retiring Michael Chavis on a lineout.
Red Sox: INF Brock Holt (shoulder) moved from Triple-A Pawtucket to Double-A Portland on Friday to continue his rehabilitation assignment. Manager Alex Cora said there is a possibility that he could join the team sometime this weekend.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve (hamstring) continued to ramp up his activity on Friday and manager AJ Hinch said he is nearing a rehabilitation assignment.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-2, 3.29 ERA) will start for Boston when the series continues on Saturday. Price has a 2.17 ERA with 33 strikeouts in his last five starts.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.24 ERA) is scheduled to start for Houston on Saturday after striking out nine in five scoreless innings against the White Sox for his third straight win in his last start.