The Boston Red Sox try to put their home struggles behind them this evening when they play the rubber match of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park.
Boston fell at home for the sixth time in seven tries on Tuesday, as Jarrod Parker pitched into the seventh inning for his first major league win, Jemile Weeks had two runs batted in and the Athletics picked up a 5-3 win.
Parker (1-0), making his third career start, allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four over 6 2/3 frames.
Weeks scored a pair of runs, while Yoenis Cespedes and Cliff Pennington added an RBI apiece for Oakland, which halted a three-game slide.
"Every win is big," said Pennington. "Getting a win on the road against a quality team is always nice."
Mike Aviles hit a one-out, two-run single in the ninth inning but Jordan Norberto retired the final two batters to earn his first career save for the A's.
David Ortiz added an RBI for Boston, which won Monday's opener and lost for only the second time in its last nine games.
The Red Sox are a mere 4-6 at home on the year, a big reason why they find themselves in last place in the American League East. In fact the team hasn't been at the bottom of the division this late in a season since they were 6-17 in 1996.
Felix Doubront (1-1) lasted just four innings in the loss, allowing five runs on six hits while recording a career-high eight strikeouts.
Hoping top get the Red Sox back into the win column tonight will be right- hander Daniel Bard, who picked up his first win as a starter his last time out. After winning a game in relief on April 23, Bard beat the Chicago White Sox on Friday, limiting them to two earned runs in seven innings to run his record to 2-2, while lowering his ERA to 3.72.
"I know it's been said over and over, but I do feel like I've gotten better with each outing, going back to the spring," Bard said after his last start. "I've gotten more comfortable with throwing offspeed in fastball counts, I'm more consistently throwing strike one with my fastball, which tonight was huge for me. So [it's] just a combination of things. I'm just learning the nuances of starting. Tonight was -- I feel -- like a step in the right direction."
Bard has faced the A's 14 times without getting a decision, and has allowed just one run in 14 innings of those outings. This, of course, will be his first start against them.
Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Brandon McCarthy, who is coming off his first win of the season. McCarthy had pitched well in four of his first five starts, but still opened the year 0-3. He finally found the win column on Friday in Baltimore, as he allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings to lower his ERA to 3.23.
"Anytime we can go out and get a few [runs] early, and hopefully the pitcher does his job, it kind of makes the game move faster and puts you in a positive mindset early," McCarthy said.
McCarthy is 1-3 lifetime versus the Red Sox with a 6.29 ERA in seven games (four starts). However, he's 7-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts against the AL East since 2009, Obviously, though, none of those outings have come against Boston in that time and his last loss to a team in that division came against the Red Sox back on Sept. 7, 2008.
Boston won six of eight against the A's last season.