HOUSTON -- Astros rookie Vincent Velasquez picked up his first Major League win, coming in his seventh big league start, by allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings, and Chris Carter belted a two-run homer in an 8-3 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
"It feels really good," said Velasquez, who was making his first start since July 7. "I'm glad it happened today coming back from a good break and started off the second half on a good note."
Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson, making his Major League debut, lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, three hits and four walks. He retired eight in a row during one stretch, including striking out the side in the third, before running into trouble in the fifth.
"I thought he threw a number of good curveballs, particularly from the second to fourth inning," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He started to settle in to, I thought, a decent rhythm. I would imagine that there were some nerves he was dealing with in that first inning."
The Astros scored four times in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. They were trailing, 3-1, when Jake Marisnick stole second and wound up scoring when the throw from Boston catcher Ryan Hanigan deflected off his arm, a throwing error that also allowed Carter to score from third. Carter bashed his 16th homer in the sixth to make it 7-3.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Johnson up and down in debut: There were times Johnson clearly looked like he belonged in the Majors, such as the third inning, when he struck out the side. But there were other instances when Johnson lost his command or couldn't make a putaway pitch, particularly in the fifth, when he was tagged for three runs. More >
"Obviously I could've done better, but I felt the first inning I kind of got the cobwebs off, but the second, and going into the third, I started to roll a little bit," said Johnson.
Velasquez answers call: The rookie right-hander worked at least six innings for the fourth consecutive start and was terrific outside of the third inning, when he allowed all three runs he gave up and four hits. He struck out the side in the second inning and sent down 10 of the final 12 batters he faced. More >
"It was nice to get him that first win," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought he was very effective early. He tired at the end a little bit. But he did his part. He's done his job a couple different times and not gotten anything to show for it. It was nice to reward him with a win. The guys were excited and we celebrated a little bit."
Pedroia's drought reaches 0-for-18: The Red Sox hoped they would get a spark with Dustin Pedroia returning from the disabled list. However, the second baseman has gone 0-for-18 in his first five games back, and the Red Sox are 0-5.
Mad dash: Marisnick's steal of second base in the fifth inning turned into a pair of runs for the Astros, and quite an exciting play. Marisnick's helmet came off while sliding into second, but he popped to his feet and scored the tying run while his long hair was flowing around his head. Carter, who was at third base when Marisnick darted for second, scored easily on the play as well. More >
"I saw the ball shoot off," Marisnick said. "I didn't know where they were in the outfield. They started waving me and I ended up scoring, so that was good."
"You know, good pitching, good defense, some timely hitting -- that's a good recipe. Hopefully we do it tomorrow, too." -- Hinch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Since making his Major League debut on June 8, Carlos Correa leads the Astros in RBIs (25), hits (43), doubles (12) and homers (eight).
GONZALEZ PLUNKED TWICE
Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez was hit by a pitch twice in a span of two innings by Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson, the second one -- in the sixth inning -- sending him to the ground and eventually from the game. He was struck on the back of the left ankle in the sixth and was on the ground for about a minute. Gonzalez was limping after the game, but said he was fine.
Farrell challenged an out call on Brock Holt on a grounder to shortstop Correa to lead off the seventh. Though Holt nearly beat the throw, the call was confirmed following a review.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Right-hander Joe Kelly (2-5, 5.67 ERA) returns from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the start on Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. ET due to Boston's rotation getting jumbled from Monday's doubleheader. Kelly went 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts for Pawtucket.
Astros:Collin McHugh (10-5, 4.35 ERA) will look for his 11th win of the season when he faces the Red Sox on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. McHugh faced the Red Sox on July 4, taking the loss after allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He danced around trouble in his last start, surrendering 11 singles to the Rangers but only allowing one to score in a 3-2 win. He was the fourth pitcher in club history to allow 11 hits with only one run.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.