Poor defense, two homers from Chas McCormick crush the Red Sox in a 9-4 loss to the Astros

Officially, the Red Sox were only accused of two mistakes. They probably should have been charged with at least five.

Anyone looking for evidence that MLB's official scorers have become overindulgent got all the evidence they needed Monday, as the final box score belied the extent of Boston's defensive woes. The Red Sox suffered a terrible performance at the worst possible time, losing last weekend's momentum with a 9-4 opening loss to the Houston Astros.

Chas McCormick compounded Boston's plight by hitting two homers, including a game-changing three-run throw in the fourth inning that effectively ended the game.

Rafael Devers had two crucial game mistakes that should have been mistakes but weren't. The first came with a hard grounder that could have led to a double play late in the inning, but instead he loaded the bases with an out. James Paxton eventually managed to get out of that jam in the first inning without further incident, but they weren't so lucky in the second inning when Devers failed to process another hard-hit ball from Alex Bregman, tying the game and the Astros allowed to continue their eventual rally in three heats.

There was also the interference of Reese McGuire's catcher and Alex Verdugo's blundered right field catch – Boston's two official errors – as well as a catchable ball off the wall that Masataka Yoshida couldn't get and later Paxton's miss on a ball in the middle that already allowed a ball to continue the disastrous fourth inning.

All in all it was a complete mess.

Despite the poor defense, Paxton didn't make life too difficult for the Astros. The veteran left-hander allowed seven runs (six earned) over four innings and allowed nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

He gave Yordan Alvarez a sacrificial flight after loading bases with no outs in the first round, and though he worked his way out of that jam, he allowed three runs with five hits in the second, including Martin Maldonado's RBI double and Bregman's game-winning single and Alvarez' green RBI single.

The decisive blow came in the fourth set when Chas McCormick hit a 2-2 fastball with two outs into left field at Crawford Boxes for a triple home run. Paxton then allowed two more players to get into goal position before eventually getting out of the inning and ending his day.

It could have been a lot worse. Despite every second and third chance, the Astros managed to knock out 13 runners. If the Red Sox had used their own chances better, they could still have won the game.

Adam Duvall hit a triple home run and put Boston ahead in the first inning, and after falling behind in the second inning, the Red Sox failed to capitalize on it for three straight innings after fielding at least two players with no outs. They went empty in both the fourth and fifth innings, and in the sixth inning they filled bases and managed to pick up just one run on a groundout by Yoshida for first place, resulting in a 7-4 for Houston.

Houston starter Cristian Javier, who came into the game with a 7.56 ERA in his last nine starts on June 21, allowed just three runs on the Duvall homer, although he also had seven hits and three walks in five innings gave up. Overall, Boston scored 3 to 17 with runners in goal position and missed 10 runners, and eventually Houston pulled away with back-to-back solo homers from McCormick and Yainer Diaz late in the eighth.

The loss puts Boston four games behind in the AL Wild Card hunt. The Red Sox will desperately need another win on Tuesday when Tanner Houck returns from the injured list against Astros ace Justin Verlander. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m

Millar calls home run

The highlight of the game was undoubtedly when Duvall topped the first half with two men on and two on the plate.

Kevin Millar, the former Red Sox champion who serves as NESN's color commentator, made a bold prediction.

“He goes deep,” Millar said. “This is not a good matchup for Javier. I'm telling you Duvall this is the last six weeks he's been kicking and hitting home runs but I'll give you a call right at the start of the game I know with two outs we're not used to that, we're doing it right now Duvall goes deep.”

Two pitches later, Duvall smoked a triple home run into the train tracks at Minute Maid Park. Millar punctuated the moment with an incredulous “What!?!” and play-by-play man Dave O'Brien could hardly contain his delight.

“We're going to Vegas, brother!” said O'Brien.

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