Houston, TX – Brett Oberholtzer pitched seven shutout innings in his second major league start, and the Houston Astros stole six bases and upended the Boston Red Sox, 2-0, in the opener of a three-game series.
Robbie Grossman and Brandon Barnes each drove in a run for the Astros, who won for just the third time in 14 all-time meetings against the Red Sox. Boston had won the previous seven encounters.
Oberholtzer (2-0), who gave up three hits in seven shutout innings at Baltimore last Wednesday, limited the Red Sox to four hits and a pair of walks while fanning two. The 24-year-old left-hander departed after throwing 101 pitches. He became the first pitcher to throw seven scoreless innings in his first two games since Marty Bystrom in 1980 for the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I told myself before the game 'pound the strike zone, stay confident and take one pitch at a time,'" Oberholtzer said.
Josh Fields retired the final four batters, all on strikeouts, to get his first career save.
John Lackey (7-9) piled up 10 strikeouts, but was charged with his third straight loss after yielding eight hits and a pair of runs over six-plus frames.
"I thought John had very good stuff, good secondary stuff," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He got some key strikeouts when he needed to, but on the other hand Oberholtzer threw the ball over the plate. He's a guy that's been proven in a very short period of time to throw strikes."
Dustin Pedroia had two of the five hits for Boston, which lost for the second time in seven games.
Lackey limped off the mound to the dugout after rolling his left ankle fielding a comebacker in the second inning.
L.J. Hoes singled in the fifth inning and stole second. After Jonathan Villar walked, Grossman bounced a hit into right field.
Mike Napoli grounded into a force play to leave a pair of runners on base in the sixth.
Jonathan Villar bunted for a hit in the Houston seventh. Junichi Tazawa entered from the bullpen and struck out Grossman, but Villar stole second and scored on Barnes' squeeze bunt in front of the plate. Villar was running on the windup, so Tazawa's only play was to first base.
The AL East leaders put runners at the corners in the eighth, but Fields was summoned to strike out Napoli to end the frame.
The Red Sox placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the paternity leave list Monday ... To fill Nava's spot on the active roster, Boston recalled right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket ... Houston broke a four-game skid ... Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, who is currently of the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League, was suspended Monday as part of the Biogenesis of America scandal ... Lackey went over the 2,000 innings pitched mark for his career.