David Ortiz and the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox look to build on an exciting win when they open a three-game series Friday versus the LA Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park.
Ortiz clubbed a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday. The Red Sox won the series and have prevailed in nine of the last 13 games.
"David has come up in those situations many times throughout the course of his career," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Today being, as far as we're concerned this season, one of the more exciting ones this year. This was a hard-fought series, a very good series to win."
Big Papi's 11th home run of the season made a winner out of Andrew Bailey, who retired three batters in a row after giving up a leadoff single to Jurickson Profar in the top of the ninth. Jon Lester allowed three runs through the first six innings in the start.
Dustin Pedroia drove in two runs, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes finished with four hits apiece for Boston, which is 1 1/2 games ahead of the rival New York Yankees for the division lead. Ellsbury had missed five games with a groin issue and showed no signs of injury Thursday.
"Obviously he's not running at full speed, but the way he's swinging the bat, he continued that here tonight, both against good left-handed pitching and the right-handers that came in there," Farrell said of his leadoff hitter. "It's really good to have him back in the lineup."
Felix Doubront draws the start for the Red Sox Friday and ended a winless drought his previous time on the hill. Doubront was 0-2 in five trips to the mound and got back into the win column in Saturday's 11-1 drubbing of the Yankees in the Bronx. He tossed six innings of one-run ball, struck out six and walked three. Doubront, though, has walked at least three batters in five outings this season and is 4-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 10 games (9 starts).
Doubront, a left-hander, has only pitched an inning of relief in his career against the Angels.
Meanwhile, the Angels are on the east coast for six games against Boston and Baltimore, and went 3-5 on a recent homestand. They split a two-game set with the Chicago Cubs and suffered an 8-6 loss in 10 innings on Wednesday.
The Cubs scored three runs in the top of the 10th and Anaheim only got one back in the bottom half to lose for the fifth time in six tries. Robert Coello was dealt the loss in relief and starter Jason Vargas didn't have his best stuff, yielding five runs and 11 hits in five innings.
"Give those guys credit, they got some key hits," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Offensively we did enough to win the game, but our pitching didn't get it done."
Mark Trumbo homered twice and Howie Kendrick had a big day at the plate with four hits, including a home run, and two runs scored in defeat.
Taking the mound for the Angels at Fenway Park Friday will be Tommy Hanson. Hanson lost his most recent outing last Friday in a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Houston Astros and was reached for five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Hanson is 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in six starts and won his only career start against the Red Sox with six scoreless innings as a member of the Atlanta Braves in a 2-1 win at Turner Field back on June 28, 2009.
The Angels won all six matchups with the Red Sox a season ago and are riding an eight-game winning streak in this series.