- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Dallas Keuchel thought he was primed to turn a corner after a disappointing start to 2016.

A lackluster showing against the Red Sox has left the reigning Cy Young Award winner still searching for the kind of outing that was automatic last year.

David Price struck out 12, Mookie Betts hit a three-run homer and Xander Bogaerts had a two-run shot to help Boston beat the Houston Astros 11-1 on Thursday night for its season-high fifth straight win.

Keuchel (2-5) gave up 10 hits and eight runs a night after Houston pulled out a victory in a 16-inning game with Cleveland. He has allowed five or more earned runs in four of his last five starts, something he did only three times last year. The eight earned runs Thursday were a season-high.

“Five runs on two swings, that’ll do you in. Especially with a pretty good pitcher over there,” Keuchel said. “I know (Price has) been scuffling, but he figured it out tonight. It’s just disappointing because I’ve been feeling better and I know the team’s been looking to me to do some good.”

Thursday was supposed to be all about the first matchup between Keuchel and Price, last year’s runner-up in Cy Young voting.

Boston’s bats ensured Price (5-1) easily took this one. He rallied after a slow start and allowed a season-low one run over 6 2/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 6.00. Keuchel snapped a streak of seven consecutive quality starts by Astros starters.

As they have in recent games, Price’s teammates had his back offensively.

Keuchel was getting ground balls early, but that quickly changed.

Bogaerts hit his two-run blast over the Green Monster in the first inning. Bradley then extended his streak with an RBI single up the middle in the second inning that put the Sox up 3-1.

Since April 11, Boston has outscored opponents 40-11 in the opening inning and has hit 28 homers in its last 17 games. The Red Sox also have hit home runs in 13 straight games, their longest such streak since 2000.

Jackie Bradley Jr. singled twice and extended his hitting streak to 18 games, tying the longest streak in the major leagues this season. Bogaerts had three RBIs.

“They show you why and how contact - hard contact - can benefit you. We didn’t,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “When the inning started in the first, we get two guys on with two hard contacts, and then David struck out the side.

“Their lineup is built to wear down a pitcher early and put up good at-bats throughout the game. They’re doing that. They’re dangerous.”

The night started out with mixed results for Price. He gave up two singles to open the game but struck out six batters over the first two innings.

Houston threatened early despite its marathon with Cleveland on Wednesday night. The Astros were positioned for big innings but left five runners on base over the first three innings with only one run.

“You’ve gotta show up every day to play. I understand we had a long flight, we had a long day, but shame on us if we let that impact us,” Hinch said.


Astros: Jason Castro (paternity list) is expected to rejoin the club Friday after he and his wife, Maris, welcomed a son, Brady, early Tuesday morning.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said there isn’t a scheduled date for the next rehab start for RHP Joe Kelly (right shoulder impingement). There also hasn’t been discussion of when he might rejoin the major league squad. Farrell said he expects to sit down with Kelly in the next few days to make that determination. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right patella subluxation) is scheduled for his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.


Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (0-0) will make his season debut Friday night. The 22-year-old will be activated from the disabled list after recovering from right shoulder soreness.

Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (3-3, 1.52 ERA) is coming off his first career complete game in a win over the Yankees. The knuckleballer will be making his seventh start of the season.


Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/khightower

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