The Boston Red Sox try to string back-to-back wins together this evening when they play the middle test of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
The Red Sox snapped a five-game losing streak in Monday's opener, as Cody Ross' second home run of the game proved to be the difference in a 6-5 victory.
Ross hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning and added a go-ahead solo blast in the ninth while Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run shot in the second.
Jon Lester went seven innings in the start for Boston and gave up five runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Daniel Bard (1-2) got the win for getting the final two outs of the eighth.
"You need all wins, but this is another good team builder," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.
Bard had been tabbed to start Sunday's finale against the New York Yankees, but Valentine said he would skip him in an effort to help a beleaguered bullpen that has pitched to an 8.06 ERA this season.
Valentine insists the move is only temporary, though.
Danny Valencia hit a two-run home run and Ryan Doumit added a two-run double for the Twins, who have dropped their past three.
Jason Marquis was tagged for five runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Matt Capps (0-1) suffered the loss for serving up the homer in the ninth.
Tonight, Boston turns to righty Josh Beckett, who has lost two of his three starts this season and has pitched to a 5.03 ERA. Beckett absorbed the loss on Wednesday to Texas, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Beckett is 3-1 in five starts versus Minnesota with a 3.00 ERA.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty Nick Blackburn, who is 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA. Blackburn hasn't pitched since April 14 when he got a no-decision against Texas, despite giving up only two runs in 5 1/3 frames.
He had his last start skipped because of shoulder stiffness, but threw successful bullpen sessions on Friday and Sunday.
"I couldn't feel anything at all, so everything seems to be pretty loosened up," Blackburn said. "It's good."
Blackburn is 2-1 lifetime against the Red Sox with a 3.21 ERA.
Boston was 5-2 last season against the Twins.