Based on the way Jon Lester has pitched of late and fared against NL opponents in his career, the Boston Red Sox would appear to have a good chance to continue their success during interleague play.
Looking for a third straight winning start, Lester tries to help the Red Sox to a seventh consecutive interleague victory Friday night against the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks .
At 7-2 and with 11 interleague games remaining, Boston (66-44) appears in good position to record a ninth straight winning season against NL opponents. The Red Sox have batted .376 with 31 extra-base hits while outscoring their last six interleague opponents 39-13.
Boston's also averaged 6.0 runs during a five-game home winning streak against Arizona (55-53).
Lester (10-6, 4.27 ERA) is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 interleague starts, and though he's 0-2 in his last four against the NL at Fenway Park, the left-hander has posted a 3.10 ERA during that stretch. Lester allowed a run in seven innings of a 2-1 walkoff victory over San Diego on July 3.
He yielded a two-run homer and three other hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win over visiting Arizona in 2010.
Lester has given up two runs over 13 1-3 innings of his last two outings overall, allowing four hits over seven in Sunday's 5-0 victory at Baltimore.
"A Jon Lester pitching to his capabilities is going to be one of the better pitchers in the league," manager John Farrell told the Red Sox's official website. "He's shown it the last couple of times out."
Owner of a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East, Boston looks for a fourth consecutive win after it scored six times in the ninth to beat Seattle 8-7 on Thursday. Daniel Nava delivered a deep game-winning single less than 24 hours after the Red Sox won 5-4 in 15 innings early Thursday morning.
"We don't quit. Ever," said Farrell, whose team has a major-league high 11 walkoff victories. "We truly believe we have a chance to do something special on a given night or given year. And that happens to be this year."
Shane Victorino drove in three runs Thursday and went 7 for 15 in the series after going 4 for 29 in the previous seven contests.
Victorino has hit .381 (8 for 21) during interleague play this season.
Teammate Dustin Pedroia is batting .394 with a homer and 11 RBIs against NL opponents this year. He's 2 for 2 with a double against scheduled Arizona starter Randall Delgado (3-3, 2.85), who has thrown 14 2-3 scoreless innings while winning two straight starts.
The right-hander recorded his first career complete game while pitching a three-hitter in last Friday's 10-0 victory over San Diego.
"This is what he's been building up toward," manager Kirk Gibson said about Delgado, who went 5-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 24 starts the past two seasons for Atlanta before being dealt to Arizona in the Justin Upton deal.
Delgado hopes this trip to Fenway goes better than his first one last year when he allowed four runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss.
Aside from a 7-0 win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, the Diamondbacks have totaled six runs during four losses over a five-game stretch.
All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is 3 for 28 with 12 strikeouts in his last seven games.
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 26, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|July 09, 2013||Eric Chavez||Day-to-Day||Stiff right hip|
|July 01, 2013||Trevor Cahill||15-Day DL||Right hip contusion|
|June 28, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Left hand contusion|
|June 10, 2013||Matt Reynolds||15-Day DL||Strained left elbow|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 19, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|July 13, 2013||Andrew Bailey||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
BOSTON (AP) -- Cody Ross wasn't seeking revenge against the team that let him go. He just wanted a win and he gave it to the Arizona Diamondbacks with a decisive homer.
The seventh-inning solo shot that just cleared the Green Monster capped his four-hit return to Fenway Park - more hits than he had in any of his 130 games with Boston last year - and lifted the Diamondbacks to a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
"Obviously, I want to come in here and perform and play well. Any time you play against one of your old teams you want to do that," Ross said, "but I have no hard feelings toward anybody in this organization."
Ross, Boston's regular right fielder last season, drove in three runs, doubled twice and singled once. His big hit came with the score tied at 6 when he led off the seventh inning against Pedro Beato (1-1) with his seventh homer of the year. It barely made it over the left-field wall and the umpires upheld the call after a video replay.
"I thought I hit it pretty good, better than I did," he said, "but, nonetheless, they all count."
In his only season with the Red Sox, Ross hit .267 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs. But they let him leave as a free agent and signed Shane Victorino to take his spot in right.
His focus was greater in his first game at his old stadium.
"It feels like a playoff-type deal," said Ross, whose second-place team remained four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. "You don't want to give away any at-bat. Maybe I should do that every time I go to the plate. I'd probably be a better player. But your concentration level's a little higher, a little more intense."
He doubled in the first, then singled in a run in the third, cutting Boston's lead to 4-3. He hit another RBI double in the three-run fifth when Arizona went ahead 6-4. He finished his night by grounding out in the ninth.
"He came back with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. Ross is a good guy," Boston starter Jon Lester said, "but when he steps in that batter's box, he's just another hitter that I've got to get out. Obviously, I didn't do that."
Brad Ziegler allowed singles to Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury in the ninth, but got his sixth save in six chances by retiring the last two batters as the Red Sox barely missed their third walkoff win in three days. But they kept their one-game lead in the AL East over Tampa Bay, which lost to San Francisco, 4-1.
"We started to put it together," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Things started to build, a little momentum, similar to the feeling that we've had the last couple of nights. But, unfortunately, it didn't happen here tonight."
The Red Sox had tied the game at 6 in the sixth on Drew's two-run homer, his eighth of the year, after a single by Mike Napoli .
Randall Delgado (4-3) got the win despite his worst performance of the season. He gave up six runs in six innings, the first time in his nine starts this year that he allowed more than three. He entered the game with a shutout streak of 14 2-3 innings after tossing the first shutout and complete game of his career in his last start, a 10-0 win over San Diego.
Lester also struggled after a solid stretch in which he posted a 2.29 ERA in his previous three starts. In his last start before Friday, he pitched seven innings in a 5-0 win at Baltimore. But against the Diamondbacks he allowed six runs and 11 hits in a season-low 4 1-3 innings.
"If I knew why I was off, I would have made the adjustment a lot earlier," he said.
Arizona finished with 16 hits.
"That's the way we should be swinging the bats," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's been a while. We came out and swung with some aggression."
Paul Goldschmidt gave Arizona a 2-0 lead with his 25th homer after a single by Aaron Hill . Boston tied it in the bottom of the inning when Ellsbury tripled and scored on David Ortiz 's 21st homer.
The Red Sox made it 4-2 in the second when Daniel Nava reached on a throwing error by shortstop Didi Gregorius . Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled him to third and Drew and Brock Holt hit sacrifice flies.
Ross' RBI single scored Martin Prado , who had doubled in the third. Then the Diamondbacks took a 6-4 lead with three runs in the sixth on RBI doubles by Prado and Ross and a run-scoring single by Jason Kubel .
"I had this game circled on the calendar for a while," Ross said. "It was really nice to be back in Fenway."
NOTES: Jack Peavy (8-4) makes his first start for Boston since being obtained from the Chicago White Sox when he faces Patrick Corbin (12-2) on Saturday night. ... Ortiz has reached base in 16 straight games. ... Arizona SS Gregorius struck out in all four at bats. ... J.J. Putz pitched 2-3 of an inning in relief of Delgado and held the Red Sox scoreless for the 13th straight game, starting in Aug. 26, 2006. ... Lester didn't issue a walk for the second time in three games.