Red Sox 11, Astros 0: Shutout sends Houston to All-Star Break with a thud

Bob Levey

The starting pitcher didn't last an inning and Houston's offense couldn't muster a run. Fitting, really.

Brad Peacock couldn't even make it out of the first inning before heading to the showers and beginning his All-Star Break in sad style.

The right-hander was pulled from Sunday's series finale with Boston after getting just one out. Peacock wasn't happy about it and the Astros didn't exactly respond, giving up eight runs and losing the series with the Red Sox.

Peacock's ouster was reminiscent of another pre-All-Star break game from 2001. Then, Astros starter Scott Elarton was ejected five pitches into the game when he plunked Royals leadoff hitter Rey Sanchez as part of a crazy game that also saw manager Larry Dierker get tossed.

In 2001, the Astros came back to win 14-5, thanks to Ron Villone's yeoman's work out of the bullpen. Houston wasn't so lucky 14 years later, as the next three pitchers who relieved the quick-hooked Peacock gave up runs. Houston's offense also has no one on the level of 2001 Jeff Bagwell, Craig BIggio, Moises Alou or Lance Berkman in the lineup, which is why the 2014 Astros managed just three hits in the shutout loss.

Peacock's quick hook isn't all that unusual, as a manger will often go to his bullpen early with the All-Star break looming. Porter's entire bullpen was likely available to work as much as possible, since they'd soon be getting four days off.

But, that doesn't mean the move sat right with Peacock. He took exception to the move and let Porter know it as he came off the mound. Of course, Porter probably took exception to Peacock's 27 pitches to the first five batters, as the right-hander allowed two hits, one run a walk with one strikeout.

Peacock is the fourth Astro in the past two years that failed to get more than one out in a start. He joins Jarred Cosart, who did it earlier this year, and both Philip Humber and Erik Bedard from last year. Previously, Houston had only six pitchers suffer the ignominy since 1993.

Jason Castro, Chris Carter and Robbie Grossman had Houston's only hits off Boston's Clay Buchholtz, who threw a complete game shutout in his final start pre-Break. Buchholtz, who hails from Lumberton, dropped his ERA this season to 5.42 with the outing.

Now, Houston can limp into the All-Star Break with a 4-7 record in July and another starter on the disabled list, after Collin McHugh headed there Saturday. Will Peacock follow him? Certainly, his start couldn't have come at a worse time, as Houston tried to fit six starters into a rotation of five. Once McHugh is healthy, will Peacock give way to Oberholtzer? I guess we'll see next weekend.

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