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Astros go after first-ever win at Fenway

(SportsNetwork.com) - Perhaps the last place the Houston Astros want to find themselves for four games at week's end is Fenway Park.

Nonetheless, that's exactly where the Astros will visit on Thursday night when they open a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox lead the all-time series between the teams, 15-4, and the Astros have never won a game a Fenway Park. The teams played three games in mid-July at Houston's Minute Maid Park, two of which were won by the visitors.

The game marks the end of an eight-game road trip on which the Red Sox were 5-3, and begins an 11-game homestand for a team buried in last place in the American League's East Division a year after winning the World Series.

"We're playing better baseball," Boston's Mike Napoli said. "I thought there were a couple more games we could've had."

Boston has lost five of its last six at home and may have to play in the absence of recent trade acquisition Yoenis Cespedes, who suffered a right hand injury in Wednesday's finale in Cincinnati. He'd hit in eight straight games and homered in his last two.

Houston's own red-hot slugger, Chris Carter, is hitting .333 since July 4 with 15 home runs.

The Astros, however, have struggled away from home, winning just six of their last 23 on the road, including five straight losses.

Boston's Allen Webster makes his fourth start since joining the Red Sox rotation. He picked his second win in start No. 3 on Friday after allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 defeat of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

He'd walked 11 in eight innings in his first two starts.

Houston goes with veteran Scott Feldman, who's unbeaten in his last three starts with a pair of wins and an earned run average just over 2.00. He defeated Texas, 8-3, on Saturday after allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

"For the most part of the game, I felt pretty good and felt pretty similar to my last three games and hopefully I can continue with that," Feldman said.

He's 1-3 with a bloated 8.89 ERA in his career against the Red Sox, who've compiled a .361 batting average against him.

On Wednesday in Houston, Kyle Gibson pitched into the eighth inning and Kennys Vargas added a late two-run hit, as Minnesota claimed a 3-1 victory over Houston in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Chris Carter hit safely twice and drove in the lone run for the Astros, who have dropped six of their last nine. Brett Oberholtzer (4-8) allowed a run on six hits through the first seven frames.

In Cincinnati, Mike Napoli homered and drove in three runs to lead the Red Sox over the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, at Great American Ball Park.

Daniel Nava added two hits and scored a run and Brock Holt scored a pair of runs for the Red Sox, who swept the two-game set and won all four games against the Reds this season. Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI, but left the game with a sore right hand.

Called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to start for the struggling Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo (2-0) picked up the win in his second career start. The right- hander surrendered four runs on eight hits over six innings.