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Heavy home dog Astros stun BoSox, 2-0

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HOUSTON (AP) - Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey rolled his left ankle in the second inning, and it looked like he would not be able to continue against the last-place Houston Astros.

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But Lackey said he wasn't going anywhere.

He pitched seven strong innings, but it wasn't enough for the Red Sox to beat Houston Monday night in the first of a three-game series.

Houston's Brett Oberholtzer threw seven shutout innings, and L.J. Hoes scored twice to lead the Astros to a 2-0 win.

Lackey rolled the ankle coming off the mound for a soft chopper hit by Matt Dominguez. Lackey threw to first for the third out and hobbled off the field with a trainer and coach but came back out for the third inning.

``It definitely didn't feel great,'' said Lackey. ``I wasn't going anywhere. I just taped it, and I pitched fine. I don't think it affected the way I threw the ball or anything. They were definitely keeping an eye on me to make sure it did not affect my delivery.''

Lackey (7-9) allowed two runs and eight hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in six innings. He has lost three straight decisions.

``There is no question that he pitches with a lot of heart,'' said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ``He is a tremendous competitor, and he never wants to come out of a game. Tonight was just another example of that. But, unfortunately, he pitches on a day where we come up on the short end.''

Oberholtzer (2-0) allowed four hits while walking two and striking out two. In his first two career starts, Oberholtzer has thrown 14 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits.

Hoes and Jonathan Villar each had two hits for the Astros, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Hoes led off with a single and stole second and scored on a single by Robbie Grossman.

The Astros added a run in the seventh to make it 2-0.

Hoes led off the inning with a double and scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by Brandon Barnes off reliever Junichi Tazawa.

``I probably should have thrown a breaking ball to (Hoes),'' Lackey said. ``I'd like to take that one back.''

The Red Sox, who lost for the second time in their past seven games, put runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth after a David Ortiz bloop single off Wesley Wright advanced Jacoby Ellsbury to third, but Josh Fields struck out Mike Napoli to end the inning.

Fields struck out the side in the ninth for his first save of the season.

Oberholtzer did not allow a hit until Dustin Pedroia's single in the fourth. He was caught stealing to end the inning.

Stephen Drew laced a two-out double to right in the fifth but was left stranded.

Boston threatened in the sixth with a two-out single by Pedroia and a walk to Ortiz, but Oberholtzer got a groundout by Napoli to second to end the inning.

``It seems like it is against the lefties that throw consistent strikes that we have an issue with,'' added Farrell. ``And we've run up against a few of them coming out of the break. But we're a team that is leading baseball in runs.''

The Red Sox threatened again in the seventh as Jonny Gomes led off with a double and moved to third on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia flyout to right. Oberholtzer got out of the jam by striking out Drew and Brandon Snyder to end the inning.

``He made his pitches, he got in a lot of favorable counts,'' Saltalamacchia said. ``We had some chances to score, we just couldn't do it. There were some pitches that I saw that I should have done more with. But he made some really good pitches and competed. He never gave in.''

NOTES: Red Sox OF Shane Victorino was selected AL Player of the Week Monday for the week of July 29-August 4. ... Red Sox OF Daniel Nava will miss the three-game series against the Astros after being placed on paternity leave Monday for the birth of his daughter, Faith, who was born Monday. Boston recalled RHP Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Nava's spot on the roster. ... Houston minor league pitcher LHP Sergio Escalona was suspended 50 games Monday for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Escalona was pitching at Double-A Corpus Christi. ... Jordan Lyles starts for Houston against Boston's Steven Wright in the second game of the series on Tuesday.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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