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HOU@TEX: Peacock fans five, holds Rangers to two runs

Brad Peacock will take the ball Sunday as the Astros look to enter the All-Star break with a series win against the Red Sox.

The announcement that Peacock would get the start in the rubber match wasn't made until Saturday, when Brett Oberholtzer made a spot start in place of Collin McHugh, who was sent to the 15-day disabled list with a right middle finger nail avulsion.

Peacock beat the Rangers his last time out, allowing six hits and two runs on Tuesday in Texas as he improved to 3-4 with a 3.89 ERA in 13 starts. Peacock didn't walk a batter for only the second time this season as a starter.

"Peacock did a good job attacking the strike zone," Astros manager Bo Porter said after the outing.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has struggled this season, will start for Boston. Buchholz is 3-5 with a 6.11 ERA in 11 starts. Monday against the White Sox, Buchholz gave up four runs on five hits in seven innings while striking out seven. He's 1-0 in one career start against the Astros.

"Young and aggressive, a team that you got to definitely mix your pitches with and don't get in too many predictable fastball counts, because that's what they like to hit," Buchholz said of Houston's offense. "I like them to swing. I rely on movement for the most part, and movement induces mishits. That's sort of my gig. I've got to execute on my side of the ball and hopefully not give up too many balls that are squared up. Stay away from the long ball."

Astros: Fields in a groove
Josh Fields has struck out 11 of the past 18 batters he's faced, including seven in a row at one point (over two outings), which was one shy of the franchise record of eight consecutive strikeouts.

"He's throwing strikes, he's attacking the zone," Porter said. "When you attack the zone and you have a put-away breaking ball like he has, he's not just attacking the bottom of the strike zone, he elevates his fastball and that makes his breaking ball and his changeup that much better because of the fact he's attacking both the top and bottom of the strike zone."

Red Sox: Adjustments paying off for Bradley
Jackie Bradley Jr. is enjoying a turnaround at the plate as of late.

His batting average hovered around .200 for May and June before beginning to creep back up in July.

"He's made some tangible adjustments to his setup in the box," manager John Farrell said. "He's using a more open setup that's letting him see some pitches better, and he's done a lot of early work to create and maintain a more even swing path. I think we're seeing less swing and miss, we're seeing strikeouts diminish and we're seeing more consistent contact."

Bradley is hitting .392 in July with five strikeouts in his 28 at-bats after going 2-for-4 on Friday and Saturday. His season average has crept up to .227 after starting the month at .208. He has hit safely in seven of eight games in July.

"I think it's his recognition that he was being exploited in certain parts of the strike zone," Farrell said. "Those adjustments were required."

Worth noting
• Brock Holt has played all 442 innings of Boston's 47 games since being installed as its leadoff hitter on May 23.

• After going deep twice Friday, Chris Carter's eight home runs in July are the most in the Major Leagues. He now has three multihomer games this month. Comments