- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Brian Johnson’s major league debut was foiled by a costly error.

Chris Carter hit a two-run homer and rookie Carlos Correa drove in two runs as the Houston Astros used a big fifth inning to roll to an 8-3 victory over Boston on Tuesday night, extending the Red Sox’s losing streak to six games.

Johnson (0-1) allowed three hits and four runs with four walks in 4 1-3 innings. He was 8-6 with a 2.73 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Johnson had retired eight straight before Carter and L.J. Hoes hit consecutive singles with no outs in the fifth. Jake Marisnick grounded into a forceout and then stole second base. The throw from catcher Ryan Hanigan bounced off his arm and into the outfield for an error to allow Carter and Marisnick to score and tie it at 3-3.

“It was kind of a tough play momentum-wise for that game because we had control of the game until that happened,” Hanigan said. “That’s not on Brian. That’s on me. He pitched a pretty solid game.”

Despite the error, Johnson raved about Hanigan’s work on Tuesday night.

“He called a great game. He really helped me out,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I would’ve had such a good game plan going into it without him.”

Jose Altuve drew a walk to chase Johnson. He was replaced by Justin Masterson, who plunked Marwin Gonzalez in the leg. Correa’s ground-rule double, which bounced into the stands down the right field line, scored Altuve to put Houston on top.

An infield single by Gattis allowed Gonzalez to score and push the lead to 5-3.

Rookie Vince Velasquez (1-1) allowed seven hits and three runs for his first career win in his seventh major league start. He was recalled from Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday.

The Astros trailed by two before a four-run fifth where they scored two runs on an error before Correa’s ground-rule RBI double made it 4-3. An RBI single by Evan Gattis wrapped up the scoring in the fifth before Carter’s shot to the bullpen in right-center field extended the lead to 7-3 in the sixth.

Carter returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. The designated hitter was in an 0-for-20 slump before a single in the fifth inning that was his first hit since July 3. He finished with two hits for the first multi-hit game since June 27 for the struggling slugger, who is hitting .190.

Correa, who has a career-long six-game hitting streak, put Houston up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Velasquez struck out the side in the second before running into trouble in the third. Alejandro De Aza singled and Hanigan doubled with no outs. Mookie Betts doubled to right field to score them both and give Boston a 2-1 lead.

A one-out single RBI by Xander Bogaerts pushed the lead to 3-1.

“We’ve got to lead from the mound,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We’ve got to give our offense a chance to get on track … this is frustrating for everyone involved.”

Gonzalez was hit by a pitch by Masterson again in the sixth inning and was replaced at first base by Jon Singleton to start the seventh inning.


Astros: INF Jed Lowrie, who hasn’t played since April 27 because of a torn ligament in his thumb, will begin a rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday. Since he’s been out for so long he will need several games in the minors before returning to the team and will see work at both third base and shortstop in the stint.


Boston’s Joe Kelly opposes Collin McHugh when the series continues Wednesday. Kelly has had a tough time in his career against the Astros, going 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA in three appearances against Houston. McHugh is tied for third in the American League with 10 wins and he has a 4.35 ERA.

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