Red Sox's momentum halted by 6-game skid

Boston had gained ground in division before latest slide

Red Sox's momentum halted by 6-game skid

HOUSTON -- The Red Sox had played themselves back into contention between June 21 and July 8, reeling off 11 wins in 16 games to slice a 10-game deficit down to five.

But they've nullified that positive momentum with an ill-timed stretch of six losses in a row -- five of them coming right out of the All-Star break. Following Tuesday's 8-3 loss to the Astros, the Red Sox are 10 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East, and 10 games under .500.

"Yeah, we've got to be professional, keep playing hard, represent the city of Boston," said catcher Ryan Hanigan. "We've got to go out there and compete. We've got a lot of talented guys that have been through adversity, and we've got a lot of season left. We've just got to get ourselves going, have everything click at the same time, offensive, defense, pitching, the whole deal. Right out of the second half, it's a tough start, but we'll get it going."

What do the Red Sox have to do to turn it around?

"We've got to lead from the mound," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've got to give our offense a chance to get on track. That looked to be the case tonight where we put together some hits, we score the three runs. We're swinging the bat pretty darn well. We get a number of hard-contact [outs] tonight where they make some very good defensive plays on. But, no, this is frustrating for everyone involved."

And it comes with the non-waiver Trade Deadline now less than 10 days away.

"Set aside the Trade Deadline, I can honestly say that our focus and every player's focus is on what we have to do [each night]," said Farrell. "[General manager] Ben [Cherington] and his staff are going to take care of what potential trades might exist and what might benefit this team, but in the clubhouse we're focused on trying to put together a game to win tonight and move onto the next day."

"We're not going to give up. Come to the field. Keep working hard. Hopefully it turns around quick," said left fielder Hanley Ramirez. "Nobody in here is a loser. Everybody here knows how to win, and everybody wants to win. When things are going this way you have to just keep fighting and keep playing hard."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.