BOSTON (AP) — The Astros littered the seats of Fenway Park with home runs during their rout of the Red Sox on Tuesday.
A day later, Boston pitcher Nick Pivetta barely allowed Houston to put the ball in play.
Pivetta pitched a two-hitter, Xander Bogaerts hit a solo home run, Rafael Devers added an RBI double and the Red Sox beat the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night in the rubber match of their three-game series.
It marked the first complete game by a Red Sox pitcher since Chris Sale on June 5, 2019, at Kansas City. It was the first at Fenway Park since Rick Porcello against the New York Yankees on Aug. 3, 2018.
“He had that look. He had it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “From the bullpen, he came in, he gets into this — he goes somewhere else mentally.”
It was the fourth complete game in the major leagues this season after Ryan Detmers’ no-hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, Walker Bueher’s three-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Patrick Corbin’s nine-hit effort for Washington.
It also marked the second straight victory for Pivetta (2-4), who has bounced back from a disastrous April in which he lost three of four starts and saw his ERA balloon as high as 8.27.
“I didn’t want to come out,” Pivetta said. “I felt good. I felt confident. I was in the zone. They weren’t taking great hacks against me, so I just kind of ran with that.”
Pivetta gave up a leadoff home run to Jose Altuve, but settled down to retire the next 18 batters as Boston built its lead. The Astros didn’t get their second hit of the day until Michael Brantley led off the seventh inning with a double.
Pivetta finished with eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk. He threw 112 pitches, 78 for strikes.
Kiké Hernández and Christian Vázquez added RBI singles for Boston, which took two of three from the team that beat them in the ALCS last season.
“This is why you love baseball right?” Cora said. “To go from what happened last night to a 10-pitch at-bat homer and it looked like, ‘Oh boy, here we go again.’ He did an outstanding job.”
Houston’s Luis Garcia (3-2) lasted four innings, allowing five hits, five runs (three earned), three walks and a home run while striking out four. It matched his shortest outing this season, another four-inning day in his first start on April 12.
Altuve opened the game by battling Pivetta for 10 pitches before getting under a 95-mph fastball and lifting a fly ball over the fence in center field for his eighth homer of the season to put the Astros in front 1-0.
Devers got aboard with a one-out triple during Boston’s half of the first and scored off J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly to right to tie it.
Bogaerts was next and jumped all over Garcia’s third pitch, hitting a high line drive just over the top of the Green Monster for his fourth home run of the season to make it 2-1.
Hernández reached via a throwing error on Jeremy Peña in the third inning. He then scored on Devers’ double off the Monster.
Boston added two more in the fourth via back-to-back RBI singles by Vázquez and Hernandez to stretch the lead to 5-1.
Astros: Pitcher Jake Odorizzi said an MRI on his left leg showed damage that will sideline him for an indefinite period. Odorizzi was stretchered off the field after he heard a pop in his ankle during Monday night’s start against Boston that caused him to collapse after throwing a pitch. He said the current plan calls for rehab to improve range of motion and strengthening. There is no set timeline for his return. “There’s some other damage in there, but not on the Achilles (tendon) itself,” Odorizzi said. “I’d say it’s the best-case scenario at that point.”
Red Sox: Barring a setback, right-hander Michael Wacha (left side soreness) is expected to be activated from the injured list and start Friday in the second game of Boston’s series against Texas.
Altuve’s first-inning blast was his fourth leadoff home run of the season and 25th of his career.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (2-2, 2.93 ERA) will get the ball Thursday for the opener of Houston’s four-game series against the Rangers. Valdez is facing Texas for the second time this season. He got a no-decision during Houston’s 6-2 loss on April 25.
Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (1-1, 2.89) will be the starter Thursday when Boston opens its four-game set against Seattle. He allowed two earned runs and no walks over six innings during an 11-3 win over the Rangers on May 14.