BOSTON (AP) — Alex Bregman hit his 30th home run, Charlie Morton returned from the disabled list with five solid innings and the Houston Astros beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 on Saturday for their seventh straight win.
Martin Maldonado also homered for AL West-leading Houston, which won the first two legs of the three-game rematch of last year’s AL Division Series. The defending World Series champion Astros will try to sweep the major league-leading Red Sox on Sunday night.
Morton (14-3) was activated from the DL after missing his last start with discomfort in his right shoulder. He allowed a run and three hits in the first inning, but Boston didn’t score again until Xander Bogaerts’ solo homer in the fifth.
Morton matched his win total from 2017. He allowed two runs and seven hits, striking out three and walking two. Roberto Osuna took over in the ninth and got his 15th save despite allowing a run. Osuna got out of a jam when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play.
Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4) pitched 3 1/3 innings. Houston tagged him for five runs and six hits, including solo homers by Bregman and Maldonado.
Tyler White hit an RBI triple and scored on Jake Marisnick’s sacrifice fly in the third, when a pair of runs put Houston up for good.
Bregman made it 3-1 in the fourth with his towering shot that bounced off a sign above the Green Monster, and Maldonado led off the fourth with his ninth of the season.
Bogaerts went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. He gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the first on a single after back-to-back singles by Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.
Morton ran into trouble in the fourth when he walked Christian Vazquez with two outs, Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a single and Betts walked to load the bases. Marisnick got him out of the jam with a nice running catch on Benintendi’s fly ball just a couple steps from the scoreboard in left.
Rodriguez was pulled after walking Springer with one out in the fourth. Madonado led off the inning with a homer to left-center, the second in two innings off Rodriguez.
Brandon Workman replaced Rodriguez and allowed a single by Altuve, then walked Bregman to load the bases for Yuli Gurriel, who drove in Springer with a sacrifice fly that put Houston up 5-1.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (strained right forearm) threw 30 pitches during a bullpen sessions. McCullers, who’s been out since leaving a start early on Aug. 4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, said he’s getting closer to returning. “I still have a couple more boxes to check before we start getting into games, but this was a big step for me,” he said.
Red Sox: RHP Matt Barnes is out indefinitely with inflammation in his left hip. Barnes, who last pitched Monday against Atlanta, said he didn’t want to risk aggravating his hip during the stretch run.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.46) has won his last three starts.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (16-7, 4.20) held the Astros to two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings while getting the win on June 3 at Houston.
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