Red Sox 3, Astros 2, 14 innings

Preview | Box Score | Recap

BOSTON (AP)—Nomar Garciaparra did exactly what no one expected him to do— he bunted.

Garciaparra went 4-for-6 with three doubles and his major league-leading 12th triple, but it was his first sacrifice since 1997 that set up the winning run as the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep over Houston and former manager Jimy Williams, 3-2 in 14 innings Sunday.

“All we needed was one run and the (third baseman) was back,” Garciaparra said. “We just needed to move the guy up and then we’d have two shots. I figured I would lay one down, and it was a good try to even get the base hit.”

Manny Ramirez singled home the winning run with one out in the 14th inning.

“He did it himself,” Red Sox manager Grady Little said of Garciaparra’s decision to bunt.

Boston’s much-maligned bullpen by committee, a failure for the early part of the season, combined for eight innings of scoreless relief.

Todd Walker opened the inning with a single off Nathan Bland (1-2). Pete Munro relieved and Walker moved up on Garciaparra’s bunt. That brought up Ramirez, who had grounded out with the bases loaded to end the 11th, but lined a shot into the gap in right-center.

“We just took a shot, righty against righty, and Manny won the battle,” Williams said. “They pitched very, very well for one thing. How many runs did we score? They pitched and played good defense.”

Williams managed the Red Sox from 1997 until being fired in 2001.

Ramirez is now 5-for-5 with two homers lifetime against Munro.

“I got ahead 0-2 and tried to establish a pitch inside,” Munro said. “I put it where I wanted it, but Manny does what he did today against a lot of teams.”

Garciaparra’s four extra-base hits were a career-high. He did, though, fly to short center with the bases loaded in the 11th before Ramirez’s ground out.

Jason Shiell (2-0), the fifth Red Sox pitcher, allowed one hit and struck out two in the 14th.

“Our brightest spot was our bullpen picked up our position players,” said Little, who was ejected in the seventh inning after arguing a play at first base.

Red Sox reliever Brandon Lyon struck out four and left three runners stranded—two at second—in the ninth and 10th innings.

Alan Embree pitched three scoreless innings for Boston, matching his career high in relief. He allowed one hit from the 11th through 13th innings. Mike Timlin pitched two innings.

“It’s nice to have, but that’s just the job we expect to do every time,” Timlin said.

The Red Sox are 3-1 in extra innings and the Astros are 1-5.

Boston stranded eight runners from the ninth through 13th innings. They loaded the bases with one out in the 11th, but Garciaparra flied out and Ramirez grounded out.

Richard Hidalgo hit a two-run homer, his ninth, to give the Astros a 2-0 lead in the third off Byung-Hyun Kim.

Kim went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks. He entered with a 6.60 ERA in four appearances (15 innings) since coming to the Red Sox in a trade from Arizona on May 29.

Boston cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth when Damian Jackson scored on an error by left fielder Lance Berkman. Trot Nixon led off with a single and Jackson grounded into a forceout.

Bill Mueller then doubled off the Green Monster and Jackson scored when Berkman misplayed the carom.

Garciaparra tripled when center fielder Richard Hidalgo lost his ball in the sun and scored on Ramirez’s sacrifice fly as the Red Sox made it 2-all in thesixth against Wade Miller.

Notes

Little was ejected by first-base umpire Marty Foster after Craig Biggio was called safe at first base when 2B Walker was ruled off the bag, covering on a sacrifice. … Hidalgo’s home run in the third inning was his second since coming off the DL on June 6 following a bout with tonsillitis. … Little said Ryan Rupe, recalled by the Red Sox on Friday from Triple-A Pawtucket, is expected to relieve starter Pedro Martinez on Monday. The plan is for Martinez to go five innings. … The players, coaches and umpires all wore blue wrist bands in support of prostate cancer awareness. … Hidalgo lost Nixon’s ball in the sun for a double in the seventh. … It was Little’s second ejection. …Nixon, battling the sun, made a nice diving catch on Hidalgo in the 13th.

Related Articles