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BOSTON — Back on June 10 Bruce Rondon Jersey , after allowing 13 hits and five earned runs in a start against the Texas Rangers, agency.The left-hander is 8-2 with a 2.62 ERA since as he tries to pitch the Houston Astros to a sweep of their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox in Sunday night’s series finale at Fenway Park.Rick Porcello, a 16-game winner who has had his second-half struggles, goes for the Red Sox, who have lost their first home series in the last 11 thanks to losses Friday and Saturday.Article continues below ...The Astros, maintaining their 3 1/2-game lead over the winning Oakland A’s in the American League West, rallied for a 6-3 victory Friday night and got homers from Alex Bregman and Martin Maldonado in Saturday’s 5-3 win — their seventh straight and 14th in their last 17 games.Jake Marisnick made an outstanding running catch of an Andrew Benintendi drive with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning. He also had a sacrifice fly.Bregman’s homer was his career-high 30th of the season, something he called “a nice little accomplishment.” He joins Morgan Ensberg as the only Astros third basemen to reach 30 — and his torrid streak has vaulted him into the MVP conversation.Boston’s Mookie Betts ripped his 40th double of the year Saturday, making him the first player in MLB history with four straight seasons of 40 doubles and 20 stolen bases.The Red Sox scored in the ninth inning and had first and third with one out against Roberto Osuna, but J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end it.“Any time he comes up, regardless of the score, we feel that he’s gonna barrel something,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the bench coach for last year’s Houston champions, said. “Just a good pitch by Osuna, and he got him to roll over and that was it.“I don’t know what the numbers are with men in scoring position (3-for-13), but it felt like we had traffic in both games and we haven’t been able to cash in. They made some pitches too — you’ve got to give them credit.”Keuchel has won his last two starts to climb above .500, yielding three earned runs in 12 innings.He is 0-1 with a whopping 9.88 ERA in three games (two starts) in the regular season against Boston. But he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-paul-konerko-jersey , in winning Game 2 of last season’s American League Division Series.Porcello is 16-7 with a 4.20 ERA. He has won his last two starts, but gave up five runs in 10 innings in those games and is 2-3 with a 5.73 ERA in his last six outings.He beat the Astros on June 3 in Houston, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs — and is 2-1 lifetime against them.The current Red Sox are hitting a combined .219 lifetime with four home runs against Keuchel. Ian Kinsler is 10-for-33, but Mitch Moreland (likely to sit) is 1-for-13, Steve Pearce 2-for-19 with a home run, Martinez 1-for-9 and Xander Bogaerts 1-for-7 with a homer.The Astros on the roster have hit a combined .268 with four home runs against Porcello. Marwin Gonzalez, who returned as a pinch runner in the ninth inning Saturday, is 3-for-7 and Josh Reddick 3-for-10, and Maldonado is 2-for-9 with a home run.Lance McCullers Jr., out since Aug. 4 with a right forearm strain, threw his second bullpen of the week Saturday — 30 pitches, all fastballs.“Honestly I couldn’t have hoped for a better pen today,” McCullers said. “It’s a good step forward. I still have a couple more boxes to check before we start getting into games, but this was a big step for me.”Cora indicated before the game that Brandon Phillips will get his second start with the Red Sox in Sunday night’s game. He hit a two-run, ninth-inning homer to win Wednesday’s game in Atlanta. DENVER — The Colorado Rockies have gained control of their October destiny and will start German Marquez on Wednesday, hoping the young right-hander can continue his recent dominance against the free-falling Philadelphia Phillies.The Rockies, who blasted the Phillies 10-1 on Monday, won their fifth straight game Tuesday, pounding them 10-3. That victory coupled with St. Louis’ loss enabled the Rockies to move one-half game ahead of the Cardinals in the race for the second National League wild-card spot. The Rockies also gained ground on the Los Angeles Dodgers and are a half-game behind them in the NL West.The loss was a season-high sixth in a row for the Phillies (78-79) Miguel Gonzalez Jersey , who have dropped 17 of 23 games this month and have dipped below .500 for the first time since April 9, when they were 4-5. The Phillies were 63-48 on Aug. 5, which was the second-best record in the NL but have since gone 15-31.Article continues below ...“We have not played good baseball for quite some time,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said after Tuesday’s loss. “We have to find a way to perform better. We have to find a way to work harder, prepare better and come out and fight.”The 23-year-old Marquez (13-10, 3.91 ERA), who will start against Nick Pivetta (7-13, 4.58), has 210 strikeouts and is closing in on a single-season franchise record. Pedro Astacio also had 210 strikeouts in 1999 for the Rockies, and Ubaldo Jimenez set the franchise record with 214 strikeouts in 2010.Marquez, who is 3-1, 2.23 in his past six starts at home, last started Friday and won at Arizona, giving up two runs and six hitsin seven innings with no walks and 11 strikeouts.He has 11 or more strikeouts in four of his past five starts and has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 consecutive turns. In those 11 outings, Marquez is 5-2, 2.36 with 14 walks and 98 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings, limiting opposing hitters to a .207 average and .575 OPS in that stretch.An improved slider, which Marquez has used more frequently this season, has been integral to his success. According to FanGraphs Tim Anderson Jersey , Marquez’s slider usage has increased from 4.1 percent last year to 16 percent this season. Meanwhile, his fastball usage has decreased from 65.5 percent to 55.3 percent and his curveball usage has dipped to 22.2 percent from 25 percent. He has thrown his changeup 6.5 percent of the time, up from 5.4 percent last year.“I think he has confidence in throwing his slider for a strike,” said catcher Tony Wolters, who has been behind the plate regularly when Marquez starts. “He throws his slider probably more for a strike than his curveball.”Wolters said the slider is a pitch Marquez will use to begin an at-bat, along with his very effective curveball and that the two breaking pitches complement each other and give him a first-pitch alternative to a fastball.But Marquez has been able to finish off hitters this year with the slider, because it’s a sharp-breaking swing-and-miss pitch and so much better than a year ago.“It has a lot of depth, and it goes down,” Wolters said. “Last year, it was kind of sweepy. He had trouble with it going down and had trouble throwing strikes with it.”Marquez is 1-1, 5.25 in two starts against the Phillies, both in Philadelphia.Pivetta had a no-decision Friday at Atlanta, where he gave up four hits and one run in five innings in Philadelphia’s 6-5 loss. He has not pitched more than five innings in five consecutive starts, going 0-3, 3.47 in that stretch covering 23 1/3 innings.Pivetta is 0-2, 16.43 in two starts against the Rockies, including a 7-2 loss June 13 at Philadelphia, where he gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings.
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