The Boston Red Sox take aim at their fifth straight win on Sunday when they conclude a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
David Ortiz smacked a pair of homers against his former team and accounted for six RBI on Saturday to help Boston claim a 12-5 victory. Daniel Nava added a two-run blast and drove in three for the Red Sox, who won despite starting pitcher Ryan Dempster lasting only 4 2/3 innings by throwing 127 pitches. The right-hander allowed eight hits, six walks and five runs.
Although the club has hit their stride, John Lackey is riding a three-game losing streak into his sixth start of the season. Lackey allowed five runs on nine hits and lasted just 4 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay in his most recent start.
"I felt pretty good for the most part," Lackey said. "I thought my stuff was pretty good. I felt good overall. I really thought I pitched better than what's going to show."
Lackey is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts against Minnesota.
Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-3 and scored three runs on Saturday to increase his hitting streak to 10 games. Boston showed great discipline at the plate overall as it accumulated eight walks.
Ortiz now owns a franchise record with 38 career multi-home run games. He is batting .362 on the season and has driven in 12 runs over his past five games.
"The one guy we say not to let beat us is David Ortiz," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They have a lot of good hitters over there, but we keep saying, 'Stay away from this guy and don't give into him.' But he keeps sending souvenirs, so we need to make adjustments and pitch him better."
The return of Joe Mauer to the lineup was not enough to propel Minnesota to the win on Saturday. The Twins' All Star catcher and Justin Morneau both went 2-for-5 at the plate in the loss. Mauer, who is 11-for-27 versus Lackey in his career, is batting .351 on the year while currently riding a 15-game hitting streak.
Five different players notched a multi-hit game for the Twins on Saturday. Pedro Florimon, who provided a spark to the Twins offense with a two-run shot in the third inning off of Buchholz on Friday, went 2-for-5 with two walks and two RBI in Saturday's setback.
"We've been able to score some runs," said Gardenhire. "We've seen that, but we've been inconsistent. Hopefully we can get everyone clicking."
Gardenhire will hand the ball to Pedro Hernandez for Sunday's matchup. The young southpaw showed improvement his last time out and improved to 2-0 as he limited the White Sox to three runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings. Hernandez had tough outings in his previous two starts against Boston and Cleveland.
These teams faced off earlier this month in Boston, where the Twins took three out of four.