The Boston Red Sox continue to battle for supremacy in the American League East Division and they hope to take care of the Kansas City Royals tonight in the third of four weekend tilts between the clubs.
Boston's Tim Wakefield continues his efforts to capture the 200th victory in his career, as the knuckleballer's fifth attempt will take place Saturday. He went eight innings against Seattle on Sunday and was handed a loss after yielding four earned runs on nine hits. The veteran righty has surrendered 19 home runs in 121 1/3 innings.
Wakefield is 11-7 lifetime versus the Royals with a 4.26 ERA.
Not much has gone right for Kansas City righty Felipe Paulino this season. Working as both a starter and a reliever, Paulino is just 1-9 with a 4.30 ERA. On Monday, the hurler surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of work against the Yankees.
Paulino has never faced the Red Sox.
On Friday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a three-run homer as the Red Sox banged out 13 hits Friday to beat the Royals, 7-1.
The Red Sox have captured the first two games of this four-game series to rebound from a 1-4 stretch and remain a half-game behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway came home on Saltalamacchia's homer in the fifth after collecting his first major league hit, a single.
Boston now owns the exact same home and road records (38-24).
Jeff Francis (4-14) suffered his third straight loss and fell to 1-8 in his last 12 starts after giving up five runs on 11 hits in five innings.
The Royals had just four hits and dropped to 3-12 in their last 15 games. They fell to 1-4 on a seven-game homestand.
The Red Sox are 4-2 against Kansas City this season and 8-4 in the past 12 contests in this series.