The Astros were on the precipice of another aggravating loss, with Cleveland having worked some late-inning magic against the high-leverage members of the Houston bullpen before Tony Kemp bailed out the club with a walk-off home run that provided a balm on their fresh wounds.
The Astros swept through the Athletics and Yankees during their first homestand this season but will need a victory Sunday in the series finale against the Indians to close this seven-game homestand with a winning record. Kemp put the Astros in position to do so with his second home run on the season, a blast to right field that capped a 4-3 victory and lifted team spirits.
"I think that's the first (walkoff home run) one of my career -- minors and major leagues," Kemp said. "To be greeted by (shortstop Carlos) Correa (who went 2-for-4 with a homer) right there up front, it means a lot. He had a big game. To get the win right there and have a chance to split the series, it's big for us."
Left-hander Wade Miley (1-2, 3.58 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Astros as they seek that series split Sunday.
He did not factor into the decision on April 23 in a 10-4 victory over Minnesota after allowing three runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over six innings. That outing marked his 21st consecutive start of surrendering three earned runs or fewer, the second-longest current streak in the majors.
Miley is 1-3 with a 5.26 ERA over six career starts against the Indians, He made an abbreviated start against Cleveland on May 8, 2018, before leaving with an injury after allowing one hit and one walk while recording one out.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 6.00 ERA) will start the series finale for the Indians. He logged four scoreless innings in his previous outing on April 23 against Miami before exiting with left knee discomfort.
Carrasco has not allowed a run over his last 11 innings since surrendering six in the first inning at Kansas City on April 17. In eight previous appearances (seven starts) against the Astros, Carrasco is 4-2 with a 3.45 ERA with nine walks against 55 strikeouts.
He finished 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA over two starts against Houston in 2018 before taking the loss in Game 2 of the American League Division Series despite allowing just two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
After featuring a much-maligned bullpen last season, the Indians have enjoyed solid performances from their relievers thus far this season. Cleveland entered Saturday ranked fourth in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.47) and sixth in WAR (1.2), and had compiled five scoreless innings in relief with seven strikeouts over the first two games of this series.
Before Kemp stroked his walk-off home run leading off the ninth against right-hander Adam Cimber, Cleveland received three scoreless frames from Dan Otero, Tyler Olson and Tyler Clippard.
"I liked what everyone (gave us)," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought Otero was terrific, and Olson got Brant (Astros left fielder Michael Brantley). And Clippard went an inning and a third. We were in a close game and we went to those other guys andI thought that was good and they came through. That's really good for us."
--Field Level Media