- Associated Press - Saturday, April 23, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - Collin McHugh was the first to admit he was not very good Friday night.

The Red Sox jumped on the right-hander from the start and never let up.

Steven Wright pitched into the seventh inning, and Mookie Betts finished a home run shy of the cycle as Boston beat the Houston Astros 6-2.

McHugh (1-3) struggled for the second time in four starts and was tagged for four runs or more for the third time this season. McHugh allowed five runs and 10 hits with three strikeouts in four innings.

“They were getting bats on me early,” McHugh said. “From the get go, my command wasn’t very good. I didn’t have a lot of bite on a lot of my pitches, and they made me pay for it. They put swings on it, got guys on base and put a run in every inning.”

Other than McHugh’s second start of the season when he threw seven scoreless innings, the right-hander has given up 15 runs in 9 2/3 innings over the other three outings.

McHugh said there wasn’t any pitch that he was feeling Friday.

“I wasn’t very good tonight; I wasn’t very sharp,” McHugh said.

George Springer had an RBI single in the ninth for Houston, which lost its fourth straight and fifth in six games. At 5-12, Houston is tied with Minnesota for the worst record in the AL.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the team was mad and frustrated but still believed in itself.

“We have to stop putting ourselves in a hole to get ourselves out of it,” Hinch said. “We won’t quit and we won’t stop. We’re not going to lose our personality. We’ve gotten punched in the face a bit over these first couple of weeks, but we will respond.”

Betts tripled in the first and ninth innings, scoring both times. He had an RBI double in the second and singled and scored in the fourth. He flied out in the sixth.

Wright (1-2) had his third straight good start to begin the season, allowing one run - none earned - and four hits with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He did walk five, with Carlos Gomez scoring on a passed ball in the seventh.

The knuckleballer has gone at least six innings in each of his starts and has allowed two runs or less in each of his starts this season.

Craig Kimbrel got Carlos Correa to end the game for his fifth save.

Dustin Pedroia, who had two hits, drove in Betts in the first and came around to score on Hanley Ramirez’s sacrifice fly. Xander Bogaerts also had two hits, including an RBI double in the fourth.

Brock Holt had an RBI single in the third to up Boston’s lead to 4-0.

Bogaerts was hit by a pitch on what looked like his right forearm in ninth inning by Luke Gregerson. Bogaerts was on the ground for a minute and was attended to by the trainer before leaving under his own power.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (dislocated right kneecap) and RHP Carson Smith (right elbow strain) are scheduled to throw in a simulated game Saturday in Florida, manager John Farrell said.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers, who is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness, threw a bullpen session Friday and looked good, Hinch said.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz (0-1), who starts the second game of the three-game series Saturday, will look to build on his last start where he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings.

Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (1-1) starts Saturday after earning a win in his last start Sunday. Fiers has allowed 12 runs in 16 2/3 innings this season.

CURRY VISITS CORREA

Golden State guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry visited with Correa and other Astros in Houston’s clubhouse before the game and watched the game from behind home plate. During spring training, Correa visited Curry when the Warriors played in Orlando.

BIG PAPI GETS A COWBOY HAT

Before Friday’s game, Astros team president Reid Ryan presented David Ortiz with a black Stetson cowboy hat. Ortiz, who will retire after the season, entered Friday’s game a career .350 hitter against the Astros with six home runs and 34 RBIs. Ortiz went 0 for 4 with a walk.


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