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Sox ready to resume facing usual clubs

Sox ready to resume facing usual clubs

ATLANTA -- They will still be wearing their road jerseys when they take the field at Camden Yards on Monday night, but in a way, the Red Sox will feel like they are back home.

The three-game set with Baltimore ends a stretch in which Boston played 15 straight games against National League foes, the past six of which were on the road.

Despite an 11-7 mark over its Interleague slate, pretty much everyone in the Boston clubhouse is looking forward to resuming to normalcy.

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"When we go to Baltimore, that doesn't mean, 'Oh, we're back in the American League, now we're going to have our way.' But at at least we can have our DH DH-ing," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That's a little bit more comfortable all the way around for myself and everybody."

Though David Ortiz won't complain if he is again forced to break out his first baseman's mitt in the World Series, he is glad to put his glove in storage for at least three months.

"I can't wait to put this thing away," quipped Ortiz as he looked at the glove resting in his locker before Sunday's game.

Francona also likes playing AL opponents better from a scouting standpoint.

"Today, I was doing Baltimore [advance work], and I was like, 'Whoooo,'" Francona said. "It's not that I'm saying we're going to go beat them, but I know these guys. The last couple of weeks, you're trying to match up names with styles, and you don't know how they play the game. It's a little disconcerting."

Even a player like J.D. Drew, who has spent most of his career in the NL, is looking forward to getting back to AL baseball.

"If I was in the National League all the time, it would be different, but yeah, I definitely look forward to getting back to teams we play a lot and things like that," Drew said. "We've had our fill of Interleague. Let's get back down to business and get back into a routine again."

Despite the lack of familiarity, the Red Sox have won 12 of their past 15 Interleague series dating back to 2007.

"I'm actually kind of proud of our guys because they've done a good job. Everybody has been accommodating," Francona said. "Everybody kind of gives a little bit. You don't hear anybody [complaining]. They all take a step back and put our ballclub first, which I appreciate. I think we've played pretty well, but this is not our best team [in NL parks]. It will be nice to get back to where we can run out our team."

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (6-6, 4.68 ERA)
The left-hander continued his recent roll by holding the Nationals to six hits and three runs over six innings in his last start, a 6-4 win. Lester has given up three or fewer earned runs in six of his past seven starts. In four June starts, Lester is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA. Lester won his only start against the Orioles this season, firing seven shutout innings and striking out nine April 19. In eight road starts this season, Lester is 3-3 with a 5.26 ERA.

BAL: RHP Jason Berken (1-4, 6.32 ERA)
Berken pitched relatively well in his last start, when he worked five innings and gave up three runs. One of those was unearned, and Berken was pulled for a pinch-hitter in a 3-0 game. The rookie hasn't won since his big league debut, and he's completed six innings once in his past four starts. Despite an erratic start, Berken will continue to get opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Tidbits
Third baseman Mike Lowell, scheduled to have a Synvisc shot on his ailing right hip in Boston on Monday, will be unavailable for probably the first two games of the series in Baltimore ... The Red Sox haven't played the Orioles since sweeping a four-game series at Fenway on April 17-20 ... Closer Jonathan Papelbon has 131 career saves, one shy of Bob Stanley for the club 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
• Tuesday: Red Sox (John Smoltz, 0-1, 9.00) at Orioles (Rich Hill, 3-2, 6.03), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 9-3, 3.48) at Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 5-2, 3.76), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

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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