"We got to a point, because we are in there so early, you are starting to think about pitching Rudy [Seanez] again," Francona said. "We really wanted to stay away from Pap [Jonathan Papelbon], because now he is our one fresh arm that we can extend [Friday] with a lead."
Since agreeing to a four-year contract extension on Monday, David Ortiz has homered in each game since and leads the team with four long balls. Ortiz has hit safely in five straight games, going 9-for-18 with three homers and five RBIs.
The Red Sox extended their home sellout streak to 229 games Thursday with a crowd of 36,524, the largest crowd at Fenway Park in the last 60 years.
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (2-0, 1.93 ERA)
Schilling has come out of the gate blazing, pitching at vintage form in his first two starts. In his most recent outing, Schilling fired seven innings and allowed just three hits and a run, downing the Orioles. This is Schilling's first start of the season at Fenway, where he is 16-7 with a 4.41 ERA lifetime. In his career against the Mariners, Schilling is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA in five outings.
SEA: LHP Jamie Moyer (0-1, 4.38 ERA)
As has been the case with the other Seattle starters, Moyer has been the victim of a lack of runs. He got the loss Saturday against the A's, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings. That was good enough to keep the Mariners in the game, but managed one hit and were shut out for the second game in a row. In his only appearance against Boston last season, Moyer allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Player to watch
Manny Ramirez went 1-for-4, collecting a hit to lead off the fourth Thursday, snapping an 0-for-12 skid.
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Official game notes
Saturday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 1-1, 6.52 ERA) vs. Mariners (Joel Pineiro, 1-1, 5.40 ERA), 1:20 p.m. ET
Sunday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 2-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 1-1, 6.00 ERA), 2:05 p.m. ET
Monday: Red Sox (David Wells, 0-1, 15.75 ERA) vs. Mariners (Gil Meche, 1-0, 6.75 ERA), 11:05 a.m. ET