Boston  starter Nick Pivetta is doused with ice water after throwing a two-hitter against the Houston Astros Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — The Astros littered the seats of Fenway Park with home runs during their rout of the Red Sox on Tuesday.

A day later, Boston pitcher Nick Pivetta barely allowed Houston to put the ball in play.

Pivetta pitched a two-hitter, Xander Bogaerts hit a solo home run, Rafael Devers added an RBI double and the Red Sox beat the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night in the rubber match of their three-game series.

It marked the first complete game by a Red Sox pitcher since Chris Sale on June 5, 2019, at Kansas City. It was the first at Fenway Park since Rick Porcello against the New York Yankees on Aug. 3, 2018.

“He had that look. He had it,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said. “From the bullpen, he came in, he gets into this – he goes somewhere else mentally.”

It was the fourth complete game in the major leagues this season after Ryan Detmers’ no-hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, Walker Bueher’s three-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Patrick Corbin’s nine-hit effort for Washington.


It also marked the second straight victory for Pivetta (2-4), who has bounced back from a horrible April in which he lost three of four starts and saw his ERA balloon as high as 8.27.

“I didn’t want to come out,” Pivetta said. “I felt good. I felt confident. I was in the zone. They weren’t taking great hacks against me, so I just kind of ran with that.”

Pivetta gave up a leadoff home run to Jose Altuve, but settled down to retire the next 18 batters as Boston built its lead. The Astros didn’t get their second hit of the day until Michael Brantley led off the seventh inning with a double.

Pivetta finished with eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk. He threw 112 pitches, 78 for strikes.

Kike Hernandez and Christian Vazquez added RBI singles for Boston, which took 2 of 3 from the team that beat them in the ALCS last season.

“This is why you love baseball right?” Cora said. “To go from what happened last night to a 10-pitch at-bat homer and it looked like, `Oh boy, here we go again.’ He did an outstanding job.”


Houston’s Luis Garcia (3-2) lasted four innings, allowing five hits, five runs (three earned), three walks and a home run, striking out four. It matched his shortest outing this season, another four-inning day in his first start on April 12.

Altuve opened the game by battling Pivetta for 10 pitches before getting under a 95-mph fastball and lifting a fly ball over the fence in center field for his eighth homer of the season to put the Astros in front 1-0.

Devers got aboard with a one-out triple during Boston’s half of the first and scored off J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly to right to tie it.

Bogaerts was next and jumped all over Garcia’s third pitch, hitting a high line drive just over the top of the Green Monster for his fourth home run of the season to make it 2-1.

Hernandez reached via a throwing error on Jeremy Pena in the third inning. He then scored on Devers’ double off the Monster.

Boston added two more in the fourth via back-to-back RBI singles by Vazquez and Hernandez to stretch the lead to 5-1.


SHORTSTOP XANDER Bogaerts might be willing to let his agent, Scott Boras, negotiate an extension during the regular season but it appears Boras isn’t interested in doing so. According to The Boston Globe, Boras said he was unwilling to hold any talks until this fall at the earliest.

“There won’t be any negotiations during the season. That’s our stance,” Boras told The Globe.

Bogaerts, who has posted a .338 average and .865 OPS in 35 games this year, can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and is expected to do because he will earn more on the open market (likely $30-35 million per year) than if he played out the rest of his deal ($20 million per year for three years).

The shortstop discussed an extension with the Red Sox during spring training but the sides did not make progress. It was reported that Boston offered him a below-market, four-year, $90 million deal; notably, no one on either side has denied the report.

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