Red Sox starter Joe Kelly had his worst start with his new team. (Getty Images)

Closing Time: Day of misplays as Red Sox get blown out by Astros

August 17, 2014 - 12:46 pm
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The Red Sox have found just about every way possible to lose this season. But the way they fell Sunday is as frustrating for a team as it gets. The Sox took an ugly 8-1 loss to the Astros Sunday thanks to a six-run second inning highlighted by a pair of inexcusable fielding gaffes. Yoenis Cespedes made the first one with two on and no outs. The outfielder failed to read a catchable Carlos Corporan fly ball to left field that instead sailed a couple feet over his head and hit the bottom of the Wall. That gave the Astros a bases loaded situation that resulted in a pair of runs. Later in the inning, with two on and one out, Xander Bogaerts had seemingly gotten starter Joe Kelly out of the inning with limited damage by turning an inning-ending double play on a routine ground ball to short. However, the replay showed the ball left Bogaerts' hands on the throw to first a half-step before he stepped on the bag, which kept the inning alive. It proved to be a major setback for Kelly, who soon after gave up a grand slam to Jose Altuve and had his worst outing in a Red Sox uniform. Kelly allowed seven runs on seven hits in four innings for his first loss with the Red Sox. He walked six, struck out three and threw just 49 of his 91 pitches for strikes. The loss drops the Sox to 56-67 for the season. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- For the second time this weekend, Bogaerts raised questions about whether he has the instincts and feel for the game to be a major league shortstop. The 21-year-old followed his poor throwing decision Friday, when he went to second too late instead of making an easy throw to first to allow the game-tying run to score in an eventual Red Sox loss, with an even more baffling mistake in the second inning Sunday. -- All fielding mistakes aside, there was no avoiding how poorly Kelly pitched on Sunday. The right-hander gave up a season-highs in runs (seven) and walks (six) for his first loss in a Red Sox uniform. Five of Houston's seven runs off Kelly came from two home runs. The loss was a letdown for Kelly, who gave up just three combined runs in his first two starts with the Sox. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- After enduring a historically bad slump, Jackie Bradley Jr. appears to be hitting the ball with some confidence. The center fielder went 2-for-3 Sunday with a walk and has a hit in four of his last five games. Bradley finished the series against the Astros with five hits, two RBIs and three runs scored. -- Will Middlebrooks had a pair of hits on breaking balls from Astros starter Collin McHugh, the first time this year that the third baseman has had multiple hits in a game against a right-handed pitcher. -- Neither Brock Holt or Daniel Nava were exceptional Sunday, collecting just one hit apiece, but it was enough to extend their respective hitting streaks by a game. Holt holds the longest Red Sox hit streak this season after reaching on a hit for the 11th straight game. Nava's streak was extended to five when he drove in Holt with an RBI double.

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