HOUSTON (AP) - The Astros' bullpen lived up to its troubled reputation of late Wednesday night.
With the game on the line, it caved in.
Right-hander Josh Fields gave up a three-run homer to Stephen Drew in the ninth for the blown save, and Houston fell to the Boston Red Sox 7-5 to drop the three-game series and fall to 4-19 since the All-Star break.
``It's one of those things where you sit there and ask yourself, `Could we do something different?'' Astros manager Bo Porter said after the game. ``You put guys in situations where you feel they have the best opportunity to be successful, and tonight is another example of us just not getting it done.'
The Astros have been using a closer-by-committee approach since the team traded Jose Veras to Detroit on July 29 in a deal for minor leaguer Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.
Fields (1-2) stepped on the mound two nights after collecting his first career save in Monday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox. Houston's bullpen has 18 blown saves.
``I got ahead of him,' Fields said of Drew. ``I threw a pretty good changeup and tried to come back with a breaking ball and left it up.'
Robbie Grossman had two hits, including a two-run homer, to stretch his hitting streak to 10 games, and Jason Castro went 2 for 4 with an RBI for the Astros, who have dropped six of seven and are a major league-worst 37-76.
Jarred Cosart had his fourth straight no-decision after allowing two runs and seven hits with five walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings.
``My curveball was inconsistent,' Cosart said. ``Threw 25, 17 for balls, so it is pretty self-explanatory where the walks came from. I have to work on it. Tonight was the walks that hurt, and that's about it.'
David Ortiz had four hits and Jonny Gomes also hit a home run for the Red Sox.
Ortiz led off the ninth with a single. He was replaced by pinch-runner Drake Britton, who moved to second on Gomes' one-out walk before Drew's home run to right, his ninth of the season, off Fields.
Junichi Tazawa (5-3) threw two scoreless innings for the win. Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
Grossman tied it at 2 in the third with a two-run shot to right. It was his third home run of the season and second in two games.
Jose Altuve gave the Astros their first lead of the night in the sixth at 3-2 with a run-scoring single off a diving Brock Holt's glove, scoring Grossman, who had led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch.
``(Grossman) is playing with a lot of confidence,' said Porter, who was ejected for the first time this season in the ninth inning for arguing a foul tip. ``It's exciting to see.'
Altuve scored on Castro's double down the right-field line, sliding in ahead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's tag at the plate. Castro, who had moved to third on the throw home, scored on Marc Krauss' sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.
Houston got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth, as Wesley Wright stuck out Jacoby Ellsbury before Josh Zeid struck out Shane Victorino on a disputed checked swing to end the inning.
Despite the woes of late, Grossman said the team was confident about its bullpen.
``They are part of this team, and that's all that matters,' Grossman said. ``Any time you go on the mound you have a chance to win or lose the game, and you try to make the best of it.'
Gomes started the comeback for Boston with a two-run home run in the seventh off Zeid.
Victorino was ejected by third base umpire Brian Knight with one out in the seventh after running out of the dugout to argue a call.
Ryan Dempster allowed five runs and seven hits while striking out seven over six innings. Dempster has allowed 12 runs in 12 innings over his last two starts.
Holt gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the second on a groundout, scoring Gomes. L.J. Hoes kept the Red Sox from scoring more, making an impressive catch on Ellsbury's drive on the warning track to end the inning.
``With a team like that, it's a game of inches,' Cosart said. ``You leave bad pitch for any of those guys and they can hurt you, and that's what happened tonight.'
NOTES: Houston selected the contract of RHP Jorge De Leon from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned RHP Jose Cisnero there on Wednesday. The 25-year-old De Leon has not allowed a run in five relief outings over 7 1-3 innings for Oklahoma City. ... Houston DH Chris Carter had a second straight game off on Wednesday. Porter said he wanted to give Carter some time to work in the cage and try to figure out a way to get back on track after hitting .107 over his last 10 games. Porter said Carter will be back in the lineup on Friday. ... Houston SS Jonathan Villar sat out on Wednesday with a sprained left thumb. Porter said he'll have an MRI on Wednesday and he would know more about his availability after that.
The Associated Press News Service
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