Fresh from their biggest win of the season's second half, the Red Sox go for the series sweep on Wednesday in a matinee against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox won for just the second time in 43 games when trailing after eight innings, scoring twice in the ninth inning to win, 2-1, and claim their seventh win in eight tries against Tampa Bay this season. The Red Sox have also won their last five home games against the Devil Rays dating back to last Sept. 27.
The win also assured Boston of its 22nd consecutive non-losing home series against the American League East foe. The Red Sox are 18-0-4 in series against Tampa Bay dating back to May 5, 2000.
Most important, the win allowed the Red Sox to push their first-place lead back to five games over the Yankees.
The Red Sox send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound against Devil Rays rookie Andy Sonnanstine. Matsuzaka will attempt to join Josh Beckett (15) and Tim Wakefield (14) as Boston starters with at least 14 wins.
TB: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (1-8, 6.35 ERA)
Sonnanstine was unable to hold a 3-2 lead on Friday in Texas, giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings to lose his eighth consecutive decision. He will be facing the Red Sox for the first time in his career.
BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-8, 3.59 ERA)
Dice-K tacked another accolade onto his list in his last start by adding seven strikeouts to his season total and setting a new Boston rookie record with 159 strikeouts in a season. He held Baltimore to one run and four hits but was left with a no-decision because of late-inning outbursts by both offenses. He is 1-1 with a 1.26 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay this season.
Player to watch
Dustin Pedroia is batting .376 (38-for-101) in his last 24 games, and finished the night on Tuesday with a .328 average for the season. Since 1900, the highest batting average for a qualifying Major League rookie second baseman was posted by Jim Viox of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1913, when he recorded a .317 mark. Pedroia has at least two hits in five of his last six games and is batting .423 (11-for-26) in that span.
On the Internet
Official game notes
WEEI 850, WROL (Español)
Friday (Game 1): Angels (Ervin Santana, 5-11, 6.22) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 15-5, 3.24), 1:05 p.m. ET
Friday (Game 2): Angels (John Lackey, 15-6, 3.07) at Red Sox (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.