Botched play in fifth typical of Red Sox ugly season – Boston Herald

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HOUSTON — If the Red Sox’ season could be captured in one sequence of events, it happened in the fifth inning last night.

With the Sox leading by two runs, one out, and Astros runners on the corners, rookie starter Brian Johnson lobbed a pair of throws to first base to keep speedy Jake Marisnick close. Undeterred, Marisnick took off for second, and catcher Ryan Hanigan’s throw whacked him on the elbow and caromed far enough into left-center field that both runners scored.

Four batters and one pitching change later, the Astros took the lead en route to sending the reeling Red Sox to their sixth consecutive loss, an 8-3 final, dropping their record to 42-52, the worst in the American League.

“I rushed it a little bit,” Hanigan said. “It kind of tailed on me. Marisnick’s real fast, so it’s going to be a bang-bang play at second. We were trying to get him. If it was probably a foot to the left, I would’ve got him, I think. I think the ball might’ve beat him there.”

Bad luck? Sure. Poor execution? That, too.

Once Hanigan’s throw hit Marisnick, Chris Carter scored easily from third base. And with Jose Altuve at the plate, left fielder Hanley Ramirez was playing close to the foul line, leaving him little chance to get to the ball and to the plate before Marisnick scored, too, to tie the game.

“That’s an uncommon play,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “I thought (Ramirez) got there in fairly decent shape. The throw is up the line a little bit. (Houston’s) Gary Pettis is an extremely aggressive third base coach. Waved him the whole way. Never broke stride.”

And it changed the game.

Johnson walked Altuve and was lifted for Justin Masterson, who hit Marwin Gonzalez, gave up a go-ahead double to Carlos Correa and an RBI groundout to Evan Gattis. If Hanigan’s throw had been on line, Johnson might have gotten out of the inning.

“It’s unfortunate they got both those runs there. They didn’t have to drive them in,” Hanigan said. “Turned the game around for them. Kind of a momentum shift.”

Said Ramirez: “That’s what happens when you’re not playing good. Things don’t go your way. We’re not going to give up. Come to the field. Keep working hard. Hopefully it turns around quick. Nobody in here is a loser. Everybody here knows how to win, and everybody wants to win. When things are going this way, you have to just keep fighting and keep playing hard.”

Botched play in fifth typical of Red Sox ugly season – Boston Herald