Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON – The Boston Red Sox rallied to avoid a potential sweep Saturday and can earn a split of the four-game series between two of the top teams in the American League when they visit the Houston Astros for the finale on Sunday night. Andrew Benintendi snapped a tie with a two-run blast in the seventh inning and J.D. Martinez pushed his major league-leading total to 50 RBIs with two as the Red Sox defeated Houston 5-4 on Saturday.
Martinez owns nine RBIs in his last eight games and Benintendi is 13-for-31 with 10 runs knocked in over the same span for Boston, which has won 10 of its last 14 and is 20-11 on the road in 2018. Former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello looks to find his early-season form when he takes the mound for the Red Sox on Sunday and unbeaten Charlie Morton gets the call for the Astros in a battle of New Jersey natives. Houston, which leads the AL West, has dropped five of its last eight contests overall and saw its five-game winning streak at home come to an end Saturday. First baseman Yuli Gurriel had a pair of hits in the setback and takes a nine-game hitting streak into the series finale for the Astros, going 14-for-39 with five RBIs during the stretch.
TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (7-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Astros RH Charlie Morton (7-0, 2.26)
Porcello recorded six quality starts in his first seven trips to the mound this year but has just two in five outings since, including Tuesday when he limited Toronto to two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in a victory. The 29-year-old had a 2.23 ERA through the end of April and posted a 5.35 mark in May while winning three of five decisions. George Springer is 3-for-7 with two doubles versus Porcello, who is 1-1 in three career games against the Astros.
Morton extended his regular-season unbeaten streak to 14 games after permitting three runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. The 34-year-old has yielded more than three runs once in 11 starts this season and completed at least six innings in nine outings. Xander Bogaerts and Martinez are each 2-for-6 against Morton, who is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in two career games versus Boston.
1. Astros 2B Jose Altuve is 18-for-38 over his last nine games with six extra-base hits and seven RBIs – but none in the last five contests.
2. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) returned to the 10-day disabled list Saturday after playing just three games.
3. Houston INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez left Saturday’s game in the third inning with right knee soreness and his status for Sunday is uncertain.