Christian Vazquez and Andrew Benintendi slugged home runs in the seventh inning, and the visiting Boston Red Sox rallied for a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Boston can earn a series split with a victory in the finale on Sunday thanks to its persistence.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander surrendered only three hits over six innings, but the Red Sox made him throw 101 pitches, forcing the Astros to rely on their scuffling bullpen to try to secure the final nine outs while protecting a one-run lead.
And, after blowing late leads at Cleveland on Sunday and against the Yankees two nights later, the Astros came undone again.
Right-hander Will Harris recorded two quick outs to open the seventh before allowing the first homer of the season by Vazquez, who entered play with a .225 slugging percentage and was 0-for-2 on the night, to tie the game.
Two batters later, after Harris (1-3) walked nine-hole hitter Jackie Bradley Jr., Benintendi hit his eighth homer several rows deep into the upper deck in right for a 5-3 lead.
Houston fashioned a rally in the eighth against Boston right-hander Joe Kelly, with Jose Altuve working a one-out walk. He stole second, and after Carlos Correa grounded out, Altuve stole third, before scoring on a Yuli Gurriel single to right.
Verlander, named American League Pitcher of the Month, struck out six and walked two, and both of the walks came back to haunt him, with Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez producing RBI singles in the first and sixth innings to drive home Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts after both reached via walks. Still, Verlander departed with the lead.
In the second inning, Gurriel scored on a Marwin Gonzalez two-out triple, and an inning later, Houston tagged Red Sox left-hander David Price (6-4) for two more runs on an Alex Bregman homer, his sixth of the season, that snapped a 1-all tie.
Price then settled down and retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. He struck out seven.
Craig Kimbrel recorded his 19th save with a perfect ninth.
—Field Level Media