BOSTON -- The young Houston Astros are hoping they can grow up quickly.
Losing for the 18th time in 25 games to start their inaugural season in the American League, the Astros dropped a 6-1 decision to the Red Sox that completed Boston's four-game series sweep."We've been battling and we wanted to put a `W' up there. But we've got to put it behind us and get ready for the next day and try to end this skid," losing pitcher Bud Norris said."It's early though. It's a long haul. I know I've got a lot of work ahead of me. We've got to take it one game at a time, put it behind us and keep learning. We're here to put our work in. We're a young squad. We're learning."Norris (3-3) struck out six for Houston and allowed five runs -- three earned -- in six innings.After giving up a run in the first, Norris held Boston scoreless until allowing two each in the fourth and fifth. The two in the fifth were unearned after shortstop Marwin Gonzalez misplayed a grounder and threw it away for another error on the first batter.Like almost everything this month, the Astros are just looking for any positives despite the long weekend in Fenway Park."We've got to. You've got to put positive rocks in your bucket," Norris said. "You can't put negative ones in there. You've got to learn from your mistakes -- mental or physical. We've got to learn and get better."That's the learning process we know we're a part of. Once we get over that hump and turn those close games into wins, and the ball bounces our way, or we get the call, someday it will click and it'll turn it around. We know it'll happen someday."It was the third time the Astros were swept in a series this season. They've also lost seven of their past nine games heading into a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday night."It's over. A new game tomorrow and that's all you can focus on," outfielder Rick Ankiel said. "You just hope that everybody's learning when you're out there and going through different situations, whether it be a feel or a situation mentally, you just hope everybody is learning something."John Lackey returned from the disabled list and pitched six solid innings, David Ortiz drove in two runs and the Red Sox matched a team record with their 18th win in April.Lackey (1-1) missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery and went on the DL after leaving his first start this year with a strained right biceps. He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two. The two walks came with two outs in the first and cost Lackey his only run.Stephen Drew hit a two-run triple and Ortiz had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 20 games going back to last season. Ortiz has 11 RBIs and is batting .516 in eight games since returning to the lineup last weekend.Houston left nine runners on base and was 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. The Astros were just 5 for 38 in the series.Ronny Cedeno drove in Houston's only run with a single in the first after Lackey had walked Jason Castro and Carlos Pena with two outs.The Astros loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on consecutive singles by Castro, Pena and Cedeno, but Lackey got himself out of the jam by striking out Fernando Martinez and getting Matt Dominguez to ground into a fielder's choice.The Red Sox also left the bases loaded in the first after Ortiz's RBI single scored Daniel Nava, who doubled with one out.The missed opportunity didn't hurt Boston as the Red Sox scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings.Mike Napoli led off the fourth with a blooper down the right field line and tried to stretch into a double, but former pitcher Rick Ankiel's throw reached second well before Napoli and shortstop Gonzalez made the tag for the out.The Red Sox still got two runs in the inning. Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit back-to-back singles and scored easily when Drew -- batting .136 coming in -- tripled down the right field line and the Red Sox took their first lead at 3-1.In the fifth, Gonzalez bobbled a grounder by Nava and his hurried throw sailed well over first baseman Pena, then the Boston dugout. The mistakes were costly when Dustin Pedroia drove in Nava with a double. Carp added a two-out double to score Pedroia for a 5-1 lead.
The Astros are 2-11 against Boston all time and winless in seven games at Fenway. ... Jose Altuve went 0 for 4, ending his streak of reaching base in 17 straight games. ... The series sweep is the second this season for the Red Sox, who also swept Cleveland.
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BOSTON, MA - APRIL 28: Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox wears a t-shirt with a quotation by teammate David...
36,527 (98.5% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
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Home Plate - Jordan Baker, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Marvin Hudson
This is the 7th time the Red Sox have started a season with 18 or more wins in their first 25 games. They made the World Series once in the previous 6 instances, though in 2 of those instances, the World Series was not played (1904 and 1994)