Mike Napoli Breaks Out, But Red Sox Drop 8th Straight


The slumping Mike Napoli finally rediscovered his stroke Thursday night in Houston, but it was all for not as the Red Sox fell to the Astros on Jose Altuve‘s walk-off dinger in the ninth. The loss marked Boston’s eighth in a row and the second straight start in which they squandered Wade Miley‘s strong effort.

With the game deadlocked at four aside in the bottom of the ninth, Altuve, Houston’s All-Star, stepped to the dish and blasted a knee-high pitch off of Craig Breslow into bleachers in left field. The crushing blow came right after the Red Sox rallied in the eighth to keep their hopes alive.

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In the eighth, trailing 4-2, David Ortiz blasted a solo home run to right to bring the Red Sox within one run. Hanley Ramirez managed to reach base on a flare single to right. He then stole second base on a bang-bang play. With two outs in the frame, the suddenly hot Napoli ripped a double over the head of Houston’s left fielder to tie the ballgame at four.

The stolen base marked Ramirez’s first since June 3 and fourth of the season.

Miley was by no means perfect, but when he exited the game in the sixth, the Red Sox held a 2-1 lead. Miley pitched six innings of one-run baseball, striking out four and walking five. John Farrell opted to replace Miley in the seventh, who was up over 100 pitches, with the sputtering Alexi Ogando.

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Ogando was hammered, allowing his fifth home run is his last five appearances. He lasted just 1/3 of an inning and allowed two runs.

Here’s a fun stat that sums up Boston’s winless road trip: Miley’s ERA in two starts on the trip was 0.69. The rest of the rotation posted an ERA of 9.70…

In defeat, Napoli belted two doubles, a homer run and finished with two RBIs. He also scored a run. With the three hits, Napoli upped his average to .206.

The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park on Friday to kick off a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers.