The Boston Red Sox eye a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays today when they wrap up the set with an early Patriots' Day start at Fenway Park.
Patriots' Day is a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine that celebrates the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride and the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. The day will also be marked by the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.
Boston's bats have come alive this weekend, as it has outscored the Rays 31-11 through the first three games. On Sunday, David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Cody Ross added a three-run home run in the Red Sox's 6-4 win.
"When you play a Tampa team that is touted to win 100 games, it feels pretty good to come out fighting like we did," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.
Vicente Padilla (1-0) tossed 1 2/3 frames of one-hit ball to earn the win.
Carlos Pena smacked a two-run double for the Rays, who were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Matt Moore (0-1) allowed six runs on eight hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings for Tampa Bay, which has lost four straight contests and five of six.
Heading to the hill for the Red Sox today will be righty Daniel Bard, who struggled in his first start since 2007 on Tuesday in Toronto. The former reliever was hit for five runs and eight hits in five innings of that one to get the loss. Two of the runs, though, came after he had left the game.
"Just they hit it where we weren't," Bard said. "I just kind of try to focus on how it felt and how the ball was coming out of my hand, which I felt was really good, and try to ignore the bad results."
Although this will be his first start against the Rays, Bard has faced them 18 times out of the pen and has pitched to a 1.00 ERA in those outings, allowing just two earned runs in 18 innings.
Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with righty James Shields, who picked up his first win his last time out. After a no-decision against the New York Yankees on Opening Day, Shields bounced back to beat the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, as he held them to two runs and six hits in eight innings.
"If I just execute my pitches and try to get the first out of every inning, I'll be good," Shields said. "If you can get ahead of these guys and really be methodical with your pitches and put guys away early, I think you're going to be successful."
Shields is 7-12 lifetime versus the Red Sox with a 4.61 ERA in 21 games.
Boston, which was a mere 6-12 against the Rays last season, has won seven of its last eight Patriots' Day contests and nine of its last 11 dating back to 2001.
The Red Sox have been scheduled to play at home on Patriots' Day every year since 1959.