HOUSTON – Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi was minutes away from a pregame meeting with catcher Christian Vázquez to go over the Houston scouting report when he learned that Vázquez wouldn’t be competing with the Red Sox on Monday night because he had become a member of the Astros.
Eovaldi was able to shake off the surprise and disappointment that Vázquez had been traded and turn in a solid start for the Red Sox in a 3-2 win over the Astros.
“He means a lot to us," Eovaldi said of Vázquez, who was the longest-tenured player on the team. “It’s one of those friendships that’s never going to be gone, even though he’s not with us now. But it’s definitely difficult having to say bye to him."
Jarren Duran homered and drove in a career-high three RBIs, as the Red Sox overcame sloppy fielding early to get the victory on a day the Astros made a pair of important trades.
Along with Vázquez, Houston acquired first baseman Trey Mancini from the Baltimore Orioles in a three-team trade on the eve of the deadline.
“We’re bringing in a couple quality guys, one guy that’s been in the playoffs and one guy wanting to get to the playoffs," manager Dusty Baker said. “Both of them are good players, both of them I heard are excellent teammates and veterans that can help our ball club ... both of them picked up quite a few games in the standings and I’m hoping that they’re happy about the trade."
Vázquez was in the Red Sox lineup before being scratched just minutes before the game. Now, with a move to the other clubhouse at Minute Maid Park, he’ll try to help the Astros make another deep playoff push.
“When the news broke and it was true, it was sad,” Eovaldi said. “But, at the same time, you get prepared to go out there and get to do your job.”
Vázquez spoke briefly to reporters before being whisked away by a Red Sox public relations staffer before the trade was announced, but did not speak to the media after the game.
Asked how he felt about being traded to the Astros, he said: “It's a business."
Eovaldi (5-3) allowed four hits and no earned runs with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings to get his first win since June 8.
Houston led 2-1 after scoring twice, thanks to errors in the third inning.
The Red Sox still trailed by a run when Bobby Dalbec walked to start the fifth. There were two outs in the inning when Duran smacked his second homer of the season into the seats in right field to make it 3-2.
The 25-year-old Duran got the Red Sox on the board in the third inning when he drove in a run with a ground-rule double.
Houston starter Luis Garcia (8-7) yielded six hits and three runs in seven innings for his second straight loss.
“He was good, except for Duran," Baker said. “Similar to us last week in Oakland where Tony Kemp killed us. He drove in all the runs tonight. That was the difference in the game."
Martín Maldonado singled with one out in the seventh to chase Eovaldi. He was replaced by John Schreiber, and Jose Altuve grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Tanner Houck pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.
The Astros went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position while playing without third baseman Alex Bregman, who went on the paternity list Monday after his wife Reagan went into labor with their first child.
Dalbec doubled to open the third and scored on the ground-rule by Duran to put the Red Sox up 1-0.
Altuve reached on an error by third baseman Christian Arroyo with no outs in the bottom of the inning. Yuli Gurriel then reached on a fielder’s choice by shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and Gurriel took second and Altuve went to third on an error by Bogaerts on the play.
The Astros tied it when Altuve scored on a sacrifice fly by Yordan Alvarez. A double by Aledmys Díaz came next to send Gurriel home and put Houston up 2-1.
Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (sprained left knee) was activated from the 15-day injured list Monday, but the team hasn’t said when he’ll make his next start.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers will make his third rehabilitation start for Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday night. McCullers, who has been out all season with a forearm strain, threw 52 pitches in three innings in his last start and is expected to pitch longer Tuesday. ... INF Taylor Jones was recalled from Sugar Land to take Bregman’s spot on the roster.
Houston’s Cristian Javier (6-6, 3.26 ERA) opposes Kutter Crawford (2-3, 4.15) when the series continues Tuesday night.
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