Houston Astros right-handed relievers Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna had been so overwhelmingly dominant entering play Friday that any sort of individual blip would have come as a surprise.
The fact that both proved something other than infallible in the same game was akin to a seismic event.
Before Osuna surrendered his first home run on the season, a solo shot to Boston Red Sox pinch hitter Christian Vazquez that ended his streak of consecutive scoreless appearances at 18, Pressly had his major-league-record streak of 40 consecutive scoreless appearances snapped by a Jackie Bradley Jr. homer on the first pitch of the eighth inning.
The Astros held on for a 4-3 victory in the opener of their three-game series against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park, but the jarring shock of Pressly and Osuna allowing homers was almost as notable as the victory.
Pressly, who also issued his first walk of the season, hadn't allowed a run in the regular season since Aug. 10, 2018. Osuna had surrendered only one extra-base hit in his 21 prior outings. Still, both surely will return to the mound when the Astros face their next high-leverage situation.
"They're human," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They're going to do it again, too, but we sure do like putting them in the game with the game on the line and having the lead and giving them a little bit of wiggle room. I put them in so many times where they have no room for error. They deserve a little leeway on a night or two when they can give up a run and we can still come away winning."
Right-hander Brad Peacock (5-2, 3.59 ERA) gets the start for the Astros on Saturday. Peacock notched his third consecutive win on Monday, tossing five shutout innings at the Chicago White Sox allowing just two hits while recording nine strikeouts.
He has posted a 0.53 ERA with 24 strikeouts against five walks over his past three outings and is 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA over his last eight starts. Peacock is 1-2 with an 8.36 ERA over five career appearances (four starts) against Boston.
Left-hander David Price (2-2, 3.29 ERA) will get the ball for the Red Sox. Price owns the lowest ERA among Boston starters and has posted a 2.17 ERA while limiting opponents to a .210 batting average over his last five starts.
In his return from the 10-day injured list on Monday, Price limited the Toronto Blue Jays to two unearned runs on three hits with four strikeouts over five innings in an 8-2 win.
He is 6-2 with a 2.94 ERA over 12 career appearances (10 starts) against the Astros, whom he dominated in the 2018 American League Championship Series. Price went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA over two starts, producing 13 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings.
By most defensive metrics, the Red Sox qualify as league average, which made their unusually sloppy defensive performance Friday (three errors) all the more puzzling.
Boston hasn't quite hit its stride offensively, at least not in terms of the quality depth that paved the way to a World Series title last season. Unforced errors, especially against quality competition, can be crippling.
"You've got to play clean against (the Astros)," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "They do more than hitting. They run the bases well, they're very athletic. It was a weird one. It was one of those that if we played better defense, we'd have a chance."
--Field Level Media
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