Closing Time: Christian Vazquez helps Red Sox blow out Astros

July 11, 2014 - 7:38 pm

He can hit, too. Christian Vazquez's carrying tool on the way to the big leagues, of course, was his defense. But along the way, he picked up some offensive skills that transformed him from a potentially strong defensive backup to a player with a chance to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues. On Friday night, he punctuated the point. Vazquez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles while driving in three runs, helping to jumpstart the Red Sox offense en route to an 8-3 victory over the Astros. It marked just the third time this year (and first since May) that a Red Sox catcher had multiple extra-base hits in a game, and the second time this year (and first since April) that a Sox catcher drove in three runs. He became the first Red Sox since Nomar Garciaparra in 1996 to have a three-hit game in one of his first two career games, and the first Sox catcher to do so since Russ Gibson in 1967. The Red Sox now have their third winning streak of three or more games this year. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Though John Lackey issued five walks -- his most since 2011 -- and allowed a homer, he managed to submit one of the more atypical quality starts of his career. He spread out nine baserunners (four by hit, five by walk) and worked around a balk to limit Houston to two runs. He struck out three batters in improving to 10-6 with a 3.79 ERA. -- For the second time of the week, Brock Holt collected both a double and triple. He went  2-for-4 with a walk, though he did get caught stealing, the second time in eight attempts this year. -- Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4, adding to a hot stretch that has seen him hit in seven of his last eight games with a .370/.433/.462 line. His average is now at .223, its highest point since May 3. -- Seven of the nine Red Sox starters collected hits and eight of nine reached base. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- The epic slump of Xander Bogaerts continued, as the 21-year-old went 0-for-4 with a strikeout while grounding into a pair of double plays. Since June 8, he is now 9-for-100 with one extra-base hit, four walks, four double plays and 31 strikeouts, resulting in a .090/.124/.120. -- For the fourth time in eight games, Craig Breslow permitted a run, yielding a solo homer to Chris Carter. He's allowed eight runs in his last 7 1/3 innings to inflate his ERA to 5.18.