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Red Sox try to stay hot north of the border

Owners of the best record in the majors, the Boston Red Sox pay a visit to Rogers Centre on Tuesday to open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Boston just wrapped up a 10-game homestand with a four-game sweep over the Houston Astros, capped by Sunday's 6-1 series finale. That victory was the fifth in a row for the surging Red Sox, who went 7-3 on the homestand to move to a season-best 11 games above .500.

Another victory on Tuesday would be a team- record 19th for the month of April.

"The fact is, we have three areas of the game where we're operating pretty well right now," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We've had a very good offensive approach, even on nights where we've only scored a few runs. We've done a very good job of chasing a starting pitcher to get into the middle of the bullpen. Our starting pitching has been very consistent. I think we've played very good defensively."

John Lackey made his return from the disabled list on Sunday and allowed just one run on five hits in six innings of work. David Ortiz collected two more hits and a pair of RBI. In eight games since returning from the disabled list, Ortiz has gone 16-for-31 with 11 RBI.

The Blue Jays will look for some home cooking after concluding a 1-6 road trip with four straight losses to the Yankees, including Sunday's 3-2 setback. The offense hit just .179 with runners in scoring position on the trip.

"It's a slow start. That goes without saying," said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "We've had a few games that were blowouts, but we've been in so many games where, one way or another, things aren't breaking our way right now."

Toronto's starters have been hit hard, as they own a major league-worst 4.46 ERA. Right-hander Brandon Morrow will try to reverse that trend, although he has a career 8.28 ERA in 16 games (eight starts) against Boston.

For Boston, lefty Jon Lester takes the hill after issuing six walks and a season-high three runs against Oakland on Wednesday. However, he still got the win to move to 4-0 on the season. Lester was dominant in an April 7 start against the Blue Jays, and he has a 2.13 ERA in his last nine starts at Toronto.

On the injury front, Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino continues to deal with a lower back strain and is considered questionable for Tuesday's game. Victorino last played on Wednesday but has been improving, according to Farrell.

The Red Sox are 7-2 on the road so far this season, and that includes taking two of three in Toronto earlier this month.