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Happ Tries To Snap Losing Skid Tonight, Slow Down Red Sox

(Sports Network) - J.A. Happ has lost his last five decisions and hasn't won a game in almost two months. A date with Boston this evening may not help things, as the Houston Astros continue a three-game set with the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.

Happ, who is 3-9 on the year, did not get a decision on Sunday against Tampa Bay and was not sharp, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings of his team's 14-10 loss, while raising his earned run average on the year to 5.54.

The 28-year-old lefty hasn't won since beating the New York Mets back on May 14.

Happ did not get a decision in his only other start against the Red Sox, but surrendered five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of that one back in 2009.

Happ will be trying to pick up an Astros team that suffered a demoralizing defeat in Friday's opener, as the Red Sox erupted for six hits during a six- run seventh, catapulting them to a 7-5 victory.

The decisive inning began with a single by J.D. Drew, the first Boston hit since Marco Scutaro started the game by lofting his fifth career leadoff home run.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia then singled and Josh Reddick lined an RBI double to left field, trimming Boston's deficit to 5-2. Sergio Escalona (1-1) then replaced Bud Norris, who recorded 10 strikeouts, and Drew Sutton greeted the Houston reliever with a run-scoring single. Escalona hit the next batter he faced to load the bases.

Wilton Lopez was summoned from the bullpen and struck out Scutaro, but Dustin Pedroia tied the game by smacking a chopper past a diving first baseman for a two-run single. The Red Sox grabbed the lead when Adrian Gonzalez followed with a two-run double to left-center .

The offensive surge took Boston starter Tim Wakefield off the hook. The veteran knuckleballer allowed five runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Dan Wheeler (1-1) finished the sixth to earn the win, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched around a two-out single by Hunter Pence in the ninth to collect his 16th save of the season.

"Obviously the numbers speak for themselves," said Wakefield. "I didn't have a good feel out there tonight. I got ahead of guys but just couldn't get them out. Luckily, the guys were able to back me up out there."

Boston won for just the third time in its last nine games.

Pence drove in two runs for the Astros, who have dropped six of seven.

Heading to the hill for the Red Sox tonight will be lefty Andrew Miller, who will be making his third start for the team since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. Miller picked up the win on Sunday in Pittsburgh, as he allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits in six innings to improve to 1-0 to go along with a 3.09 ERA.

"The more he pitches, the more comfortable he's going to be," Saltalamacchia said after that win. "You know, he hasn't been here long. So he's going to get more comfortable and start to realize what he can do. But he's been great so far."

Miller has faced the Astros twice and is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in those two outings.

Houston took two of three from the Red Sox the last time these teams met back in 2008.

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