Porcello struggles to contain Astros in loss

Porcello struggles to contain Astros in loss

HOUSTON -- Behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran in the third inning, the Astros rocked Red Sox starter Rick Porcello for seven runs and 10 hits and rolled to a 7-1 win in the middle game of the series Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros tagged Porcello (3-9) for three runs in the first inning and three in the third inning to take a 6-0 lead, which was more than enough for rookie right-hander David Paulino. The big right-hander picked up his first Major League win by holding Boston to one run and three hits in six innings.

Paulino tosses six strong frames

"He's a guy that has a pretty good sinker," Beltran said of Porcello. "I faced him last year, the year he won the Cy Young, and his sinker was amazing. … It's location that makes a sinker a good sinker. Today we got good pitches in the middle of the plate and we were able to put those in play."

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Porcello has allowed seven or more hits in nine consecutive starts, and 10 hits or more in four of his last six. Including Saturday's seven runs, Porcello has allowed five or more earned runs in each of his last three starts and earned his ninth loss this season.

"For Rick, the night-and-day difference has always been the strike zone," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "This is something with his delivery he has continually worked on between starts and yet the consistency inside of a game has not been there."

Porcello has pitched at least six innings in 20 consecutive road starts, but that was no consolation Saturday.

"Inconsistent," he said. "Playing against the best players in the world, so when you're not sharp and you're not on your game, this is what happens to you."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First things first: George Springer (double), Marwin Gonzalez (bunt single) and Altuve (double) led off the first with consecutive hits against Porcello, and all three eventually scored. Altuve drove in Springer, and back-to-back sac flies by Brian McCann and Beltran pushed Houston's lead to 3-0.

Altuve's RBI double

Two deep: Altuve's homer to lead off the third inning traveled 428 feet, according to Statcast™, and put the Astros ahead, 4-0. Carlos Correa followed with a two-strike single, and Beltran drilled a home run to right field one out later to make it 6-0. All nine of Beltran's home runs and 26 of his 29 RBIs have come while batting left-handed.

"We swung the bat very well," Astros manager A.J. HInch said. :"Both innings where we had the three-run innings, we put a lot of at-bats together. We talk about the six at-bats to start the game. We mixed in a bloop hit here and a walk there, but the two sacrifice flies that continued to tack on runs. I thought Altuve the next time around with the home run, we just come at you -- whether it's six in a row, like the first inning, or maybe three out of four in the inning where we scored in the third. ... Really good at-bats coming at guys and we usually put runs on the board when we do that."

Statcast: Altuve's 428-ft. homer

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Tonight's win was Hinch's 216th as the Astros' manager, surpassing Jimy Williams' 215 wins for sole possession of ninth place all-time for the most wins in club history.

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: David Price will make his fifth start of the season against the Astros at 8:05 p.m. ET on Sunday in Houston. In his last outing, Price threw six innings on 103 pitches and allowed three earned runs on four hits.

Astros: Right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his second start since being activated from the disabled list when he faces the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Minute Maid Park. He has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. He covered the Red Sox on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.