Boston Red Sox (42-52) at Houston Astros (40-55), 2:10 p.m. (ET)

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - In the rubber match of a three-game weekend series, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros will close out the season's first half on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

Clay Buchholz, who's just 3-5 with a bloated 6.11 ERA this season, will take the mound for the Red Sox.

While success has come few and far between for Buchholz on the year, he has managed to pitch into the seventh inning in three straight starts. He gave up just five hits and a walk over seven innings of work against the White Sox on July 7 while striking out seven, but he earned the loss after yielding four earned runs.

Buchholz has a 3.38 ERA in July, his lowest in any month this season.

The Astros will counter with Brad Peacock, who's 3-5 with a 4.30 ERA.

Peacock has been an impressive cog in Houston's rotation of late, allowing two earned runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts. In his most recent outing on July 8 against the Rangers, he earned the win after yielding two runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out five.

The 26-year-old right-hander has a 5.40 ERA in 88 1/3 career innings at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros captured their fourth win in the past five games on Saturday afternoon in thrilling fashion, taking the lead in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Chris Carter and holding on for a 3-2 victory.

"That was a big hit for us and we needed that run right there in that situation," Carter said. "I was just glad I was in the situation to come through for us."

Carter finished with just the one hit, but it was good enough to extend his hitting streak to a career-high eight games. He has six home runs and 10 RBI in that span.

Jason Castro blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the third, his eighth of the season.

After Brett Oberholtzer went 6 1/3 innings allowing 11 hits and two earned runs in a no-decision, Josh Fields (2-4) picked up the victory with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Chad Qualls recorded the final two outs for his 10th save as Houston beat Boston for only the second time in the last 12 meetings.

Jake Peavy's (1-8) hard luck continued for the Red Sox, as he was saddled with the loss despite striking out nine in seven innings while yielding just three runs.

David Ortiz belted his 20th homer of the year, a solo shot in the fourth. Brock Holt went 3-for-5 for his second straight multi-hit game.

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