Vince Velasquez made headlines earlier this season for going five starts to begin his career without recording a decision. Just before the All-Star Break, he was sent down to AA Corpus Christi to get some extra work in and it seems to have paid off. The flame-throwing righty got his first career win on Tuesday night at home against the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox took a 3-1 lead in the third on a check swing double by Mookie Betts that went against the shift. Alejandro De Aza and Ryan Hanigan scored on the play to give Boston a 2-1 lead. One hitter later, Xander Bogaerts singled into center field to score Betts from second to open the lead up to 3-1. Boston wouldn’t score the rest of the game though and Houston came roaring back with four runs in the fifth inning. Velasquez pitched six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch spoke about Velasquez after the game, “He’s done his job a couple of different times and not gotten anything to show for it, so it was nice to reward him with a win.”
Chris Carter and L.J. Hoes singled to lead-off the inning and Jake Marisnick reached on a fielder’s choice to Pablo Sandoval at third. With Jose Altuve at the plate, Marisnick broke for second and was hit in the helmet by a throw from Hanigan that got away into left-center field. Carter was able to score easily from third on the play and Marisnick came all the way around to score as well and tie the game at three a piece. Altuve walked and, after a pitching change for Justin Masterson, Marwin Gonzalez was hit-by-pitch. Carlos Correa hit a ground-rule double to score Altuve and Evan Gattis grounded out to score Gonzalez and open up the lead to 5-3.
Boston Red Sox starter Brian Johnson made his major league debut on Tuesday going 4.1 innings and giving up four runs on three hits and walking four in the loss. The Red Sox bullpen allowed four runs in 4.2 innings of relief of Johnson.
In the sixth, Hank Conger led-off with a double off of the Crawford Boxes in left field and Carter followed up with an opposite-field home run, his 16th of the year, into the Astros bullpen to open the lead to 7-3 in favor of Houston. Marisnick came across for the second time in the game on a single from Altuve in the eighth for the final tally of the game at 8-3.
Leading the charge at the plate for the Astros were Jose Altuve and Chris Carter. Each went 2-3 with two runs scored while Altuve added two walks and one RBI and Carter had one walk and two RBI’s on the home run. The two teams are back at it on Wednesday night at 7:10 for game two of the series.
WP: Vince Velasquez (1-1)
LP: Brian Johnson (0-1)