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Recap: Red Sox , Astros
 •  BT Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Date: July 01, 2011 8:05 PM EDT

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston's bullpen blew it again, spoiling Bud Norris' gem.

Norris struck out 10 in six-plus innings, then watched the Boston Red Sox rally for a 7-5 win over the Astros on Friday night.

Hunter Pence drove in two runs, and Norris had an RBI single as Houston built a 5-1 lead.


J.D. Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the seventh with singles, the first hits given up by Norris since Marco Scutaro's leadoff homer. Josh Reddick blooped a double down the left-field line, scoring Drew and prompting Houston manager Brad Mills to replace Norris with left-hander Sergio Escalona (1-1).

The Astros' bullpen came in with an NL-worst 4.79 ERA and 17 blown saves, and couldn't shut down Boston's bats, either.

Saltalamacchia scored when Drew Sutton beat out a hard grounder to shortstop Clint Barmes. Escalona then hit pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald, loading the bases for Scutaro.

Wilton Lopez relieved and struck out Scutaro on a 3-2 fastball. But Dustin Pedroia chopped a two-run single down the right-field line to tie it, as Norris watched from the dugout.

``It's a little frustrating,' Norris said, ``but it happens quickly, unfortunately.'

Adrian Gonzalez then doubled to left-center, scoring McDonald and Pedroia to cap the decisive six-run surge.

``We just couldn't stop that seventh inning,' Mills said. ``They got it started, and we just couldn't get it stopped.'

The Red Sox bullpen, meanwhile, allowed only two hits over the final three innings, with Jonathan Papelbon finishing off Houston in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

The Astros have lost 12 of their last 16 games.

``You take the good and the bad, and try to get better, and learn,' Norris said. ``That's where this team is at right now, a lot of young guys, learning day in and day out. That's what it's all about.'

Michael Bourn singled in the Houston first to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He stole second, advanced on Angel Sanchez's groundout, then scored on Pence's tying sacrifice fly to center.

Barmes led off the Astros' second with a double to left-center. Houston came into the game leading the majors with 171 doubles.

Barmes was caught in a rundown on Carlos Corporan's grounder back to Boston starter Tim Wakefield, but Bourn singled again and Corporan scored on Sanchez's bunt up the third-base line. Pence knocked in Bourn with a ground-rule double down the left-field line to make it 3-1.

Norris breezed through the Boston lineup after the early mistake, allowing no other hits until the seventh. Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and Wakefield struck out in each of their first two at_bats.

``When you're in grooves like that, you've got to keep going,' Norris said. ``You just keep making pitches.'

Sanchez singled and scored on Carlos Lee's double for a 4-1 lead in the fifth. Norris helped himself with an RBI single in the Houston sixth, and former Astros reliever Dan Wheeler (1-1) relieved Wakefield.

The Red Sox had been struggling offensively on their interleague road trip, scoring a total of 15 runs in the first six games. And Norris had them baffled in Houston until the seventh.

``We're just trying to find a way to score. It was kind of a weird game,' Pedroia said. ``He (Norris) was very good early on, so we were able to get him out of there and get some runs.'

Houston's top five hitters had two hits apiece, but all the Astros could muster after the seventh were singles by Chris Johnson and Pence.

``We feel like we let one slip,' Johnson said.

NOTES: Houston 2B Jeff Keppinger was out for the second straight day after experiencing nausea before Thursday's game. ... Youkilis returned after sitting out Thursday's game in Philadelphia with a bone bruise in his left foot. ... Red Sox manager Terry Francona says LF Carl Crawford is unlikely to return to the lineup when he's due to come off the disabled list on Sunday. Crawford strained a hamstring in a June 17 game against Milwaukee. ``He needs some more time,' Francona said. ... Francona says he may play DH David Ortiz at first base on Saturday to face LHP J.A. Happ. Ortiz is hitting .341 against left-handers this season, and .290 against right-handers.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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