Red Sox try to carry momentum into opener with D'backs
After one of the more thrilling wins of the season the Boston Red Sox begin three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway Park on Friday.
Trailing by five in the ninth inning on Thursday, the Red Sox rallied for six runs against the Seattle Mariners to pull out an 8-7 win and complete a three- game sweep. Daniel Nava's RBI single capped the rally and helped Boston win in walkoff fashion for a major league-best 11th time this season.
"Guys care about each other, guys want to win," said Dustin Pedroia. "We're going to fight until the end. We understand in the big leagues it's tough, but we're going to give everybody everything we got."
Boston has now won five of six and leads the Tampa Bay Rays by a game for the top spot in the American League East.
Hoping to keep the Red Sox in the win column on Friday will be lefty Jon Lester, who is 10-6 with a 4.27 ERA. Lester won his second straight start on Sunday in Baltimore, as he scattered four hits and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings.
"A Jon Lester pitching to his capabilities is going to be one of the better pitchers in the league," manager John Farrell said afterward. "He's shown it the last couple of times out. Again, I think he's getting a better understanding of the overall pitch mix, how to be most effective. His changeup continues to be a very good weapon for him, and he was efficient once again today."
Lester beat the D'Backs the only other time he faced them.
Arizona, meanwhile, will counter with righty Randall Delgado, who hasn't allowed a run in either of his last two starts. After tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings against San Francisco on July 21, Delgado threw a three-hit shutout on Sunday to beat San Diego and improve to 3-3 to go along with a 2.85 ERA.
"His confidence is building," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's starting to trust his stuff and understand how to use it. He feels good about himself, he's a strong kid, he's healthy, he's very athletic."
Delgado, though, didn't fare well in his only other start against the Red Sox, who battered him for four runs and six hits in just 1 1/3 innings.
While the Red Sox were winning in dramatic fashion on Thursday, Arizona was swinging and missing in Texas, as Yu Darvish fanned 14 Diamondbacks batters in the Rangers' 7-1 win.
It was the second time this season that Darvish struck out 14 Arizona batters.
"I feel like when he goes out there he's looking to strike 10-plus out every night," Arizona outfielder Adam Eaton said of Darvish. "He has the stuff to do it."
These teams haven't met since Boston swept a three-game set back in 2010. In fact, the Red Sox have won seven of the last nine in the series.