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Pedroia looking for offensive upswing

Pedroia looking for offensive upswing

TORONTO -- The offense has gone dry for the Red Sox on this road trip, and Dustin Pedroia isn't interested in excuses or explanations. Instead, the fiercely competitive Pedroia just wants the troubling trend to cease, and soon.

The Red Sox are off to a 28-22 start, their worst after 50 games since 2005. Though many teams around the game would like to have that record and be within a sniff of first place, Pedroia demands excellence from himself and his team.

"We got four hits [on Saturday]," said Pedroia. "We've got to find a way to score runs. We're not winning many games right now, and we need to start. It's not early anymore. We've played 50 games. We need to start doing some things, offensively."

The trend with the Red Sox has been clear. They thrive with the bats at home, where they are 16-7, and then go into slumps on the road, where they are 11-16.

On the road, the Sox have scored 4.2 runs per game. At Fenway, they've scored 6.3 runs per game.

"The players we have, I think -- not everybody, but a lot of them -- are suited for Fenway," said manager Terry Francona. "There are guys on our club, they know they can reach out and hook something and hit it off that wall. In these road games, you can hook it and fly out. There's a difference. That's one reason ... it's been something we've been trying to figure out for a while. Our home and road [stats] -- there's a lot of disparity. I would like to hope we could figure it out by [Sunday]."

Jon Lester will take the ball for Boston in that one, trying to salvage the finale of this three-game series.

The Blue Jays counter with lefty Ricky Romero. Will Sunday be the day the bats break out after scoring just 12 runs over the past five games?

"I think you can sometimes take results and put them aside," said catcher Jason Varitek. "You could probably count about 10 lineouts [in Saturday's loss]. Our big fellas are swinging the bats well and not having a whole lot of results. When you're lining out or hitting balls well, those things will eventually fall. I think it's just a matter of time."

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (3-5, 6.07 ERA)
Lester cruised for four innings on Tuesday against the Twins, but a five-run fifth inning derailed his outing. The 25-year-old southpaw suffered the loss by allowing five earned runs on six hits and three walks in six innings while striking out four. Lester will get familiar American League East foe Toronto next. He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays.

TOR: LHP Ricky Romero (2-1, 3.08 ERA)
Romero will be making his second start since returning from an oblique strain that had sidelined him since mid-April. He gave up five runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday in Baltimore. Home runs hurt Romero in that game; he gave up three of them, which allowed the Orioles turn a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 lead by the sixth inning. Manager Cito Gaston liked what he saw in Romero's return and is hoping for more of the same as the rookie settles back into the rotation.

Tidbits
Sunday marks Boston's 18th day game of the season, and fifth in the past eight games. ... Francona is two wins shy of 400 with the Red Sox. He is third in club history, trailing Joe Cronin (1,071) and Mike Higgins (560). ... Jonathan Papelbon, with 126 career saves, is just six shy of tying Bob Stanley's team record.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 0-3, 8.82) at Tigers (Rick Porcello, 6-3, 3.48), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 5-2, 4.60) at Tigers (Armando Galarraga, 3-5, 5.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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