Red Sox, minus Betts, Pedroia, visit Astros

HOUSTON — One day after placing star right fielder Mookie Betts on the 10-day disabled list, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora lost another key cog in the form of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia, who underwent offseason left knee surgery, lasted only three games following his season debut before going back on the DL with knee inflammation. Pedroia had one hit in 11 at-bats.

Right-hander Bobby Poyner was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill the roster void.

“I know he’s a little frustrated but it is what it is,” Cora said. “It was major surgery. Hopefully, he comes back sooner rather than later and he’ll be out there. I’m going to take care of him anyways. This is not only for now; this is for the long run. Obviously, we have our goals to play in October and we want him to continue to perform at a high level, and I think this is very important for him.

“He didn’t bounce back the way he wanted. Mentally he was a little bit beat down. It’s good that we can stay away from him now.”

Right-hander Rick Porcello (7-2, 3.65 ERA) will start the series finale for the Red Sox (40-19). Porcello has alternated wins and losses over his last four outings, working 6 2/3 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks in an 8-3 victory over Toronto on Tuedasy. That marked his longest start since he worked 7 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay on April 29.

Porcello is 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA over three career regular-season starts against the Astros. He faced Houston twice in the American League Division Series last season, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts over four innings in Games 1 and 4, both Red Sox losses.

Right-hander Charlie Morton (7-0, 2.26 ERA) gets the starting assignment for Houston on Sunday. Morton is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA over two career regular-season starts against the Red Sox. He did not factor in the decision in Game 4 of the ALDS against Boston last postseason after allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings in a 5-4 Astros victory.

When Astros manager A.J. Hinch turned to right-handed reliever Brad Peacock to put the finishing touches on a 7-3 victory on Friday, Hinch not only received what he desired for the Astros (37-23) as a whole, but also for Peacock individually. On the heels of his streak of 11 consecutive scoreless appearances, Peacock allowed one earned run in each of his three appearances leading to Friday, including surrendering walk-off hits to the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees in the span of three games.

Peacock, who struck out the side in a scoreless ninth inning, needed the bounce-back effort.

“I was happy that he closed the game out (Friday) night and he got to exhale a little bit,” Hinch said. “He had a couple of tough circumstances where one pitch beat him and beat us. Every player will carry that burden and it’s not his fault or anything like that. It was just some pitches that he didn’t finish.

“I have a ton of confidence in Brad; I’m going to keep giving him the ball. His demeanor has not changed whether he’s starting or relieving, whether he gives up the game-winning homer or whether he finished the game against the Red Sox. There’s a consistency that I’ve always appreciated with Brad. I think his season’s gone well.”