BOSTON For a few seconds it looked like the inning was over. Then, a couple of minutes later, Jose Altuve’s grand slam broke the game open.
Altuve hit his first slam after Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts made a mental gaffe on a play that would have ended an inning Sunday, carrying the Houston Astros to an 8-1 victory over the Red Sox.
Leading 2-0, the Astros got a break when manager Bo Porter won a challenge and they scored four runs after Bogaerts’ mistake. The shortstop picked up Marwin Gonzalez’s grounder, ran to second for what looked like a force and fired to first. The problem was he threw the ball about a step before he tagged the bag. After Joe Kelly walked the bases full, Altuve homered into the Green Monster seats.
“That there’s a big play,” said Porter, who said he was first told by the umpires that the play wasn’t reviewable. “You look at that stage of the game and what proceeded to happen after that, Altuve with the big grand slam, one could say that was the biggest play of the game.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by first-base umpire Doug Eddings after Altuve’s slam when he came out to argue.
“My initial explanation on the field was that it was a neighborhood play,” Farrell said. “My interpretation is that neighborhood play should not be determined by a feed throw or not, a neighborhood play is not a reviewable play.”
Crew chief Jim Joyce, speaking to a pool reporter from the AP, said because he had never seen the play before that the crew decided to ask the replay center for help.
“Actually, we have not have had that play per say where the shortstop or the second baseman go right to the bag on their own,” he said. “So, just to make everything clear, I explained to Bo that I was going to ask New York, the replay center, if it was in fact reviewable because a neighborhood play is not. New York came back to me and said, `Yes, that play is reviewable’ and I came back to them and said, `OK, Houston is challenging that play’ and that was the outcome.”
Altuve, who leads the majors in hits, went 4 for 5, raising his hit total to 173 and majors’ best average to .339 as the Astros completed a split of the four-game series.
Dexter Fowler and Jon Singleton added solo homers for Houston, which earned its 52nd win to surpass last year’s total.
Daniel Nava had an RBI double for Boston.
Collin McHugh (6-9) gave up one run on seven hits in six innings for Houston.
Kelly (0-1) was tagged for seven runs on seven hits, walking six over four innings in his Fenway Park debut with the Red Sox. He was acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline along with first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig for right-hander John Lackey.
Fowler’s homer in the third made it 7-0.