Red Sox bash Astros’ Morton for series split

Andrew Benintendi paced the assault on Charlie Morton as the Boston Red Sox earned a four-game series split against the host Houston Astros with a 9-3 victory on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

Benintendi finished 2-for-5 with two runs and his second home run of the series, a fifth-inning blast into the upper deck in right field. The Red Sox slugged two mammoth home runs off Morton (7-1), who had his streak of 15 consecutive starts without a loss, dating to last season, snapped.

Before Benintendi provided Boston a 3-1 lead with his solo shot, Mitch Moreland belted a Morton curveball 441 feet to straightaway center field with two outs in the first inning to score Benintendi.

Morton appeared to steady himself by striking out the side in the second, but he allowed a Xander Bogaerts double in the third before the first two batters reached safely to open the fourth inning.

When Moreland and Eduardo Nunez reached in succession again leading off the sixth, Morton proved unable to wiggle his way out of danger.

Brock Holt plated both runners with a triple, and Holt scored two pitches later when Blake Swihart recorded a single that chased Morton.

The Houston right-hander allowed six runs on nine hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. The six runs were the most Morton has allowed in 37 starts with Houston.

Moreland and Benintendi produced their 10th and ninth home runs, respectively. Holt totaled three RBIs while Nunez finished 3-for-4 with two runs.

Astros right fielder George Springer notched his fourth leadoff homer this season and 22nd of his career to cut the deficit to 2-1. From there, the Astros managed traffic against Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello (8-2) but repeatedly failed to record the decisive base hit.

Houston placed leadoff batters in scoring position with no outs in the first, second, third and sixth innings against Porcello with only Springer scoring via his 13th dinger.

The Astros were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Alex Bregman delivered a two-run single against Porcello with one out in the seventh inning that sliced the deficit to 6-3. Jose Altuve followed by whiffing against Boston reliever Matt Barnes, and the second baseman wound up with his first three-strikeout game this season.

Porcello allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

–Field Level Media