Coming home to face the New York Yankees should provide the Boston Red Sox with plenty of motivation to bounce back from a rough road trip.
Looking to avoid matching a season-high third straight defeat, the Red Sox try to continue their season success against the archrival Yankees on Friday night.
Boston (72-51) has a two-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East, but went 4-6 at Houston, Kansas City and Toronto. It totaled 23 runs and three homers while losing five of the last seven to the Royals and the Blue Jays, capped by Thursday's 2-1 defeat at Toronto.
"We've got to go home and regroup," said manager John Farrell , whose team went 6 for 34 with runners in scoring position and stranded 33 runners in three games with Toronto.
The Red Sox have hit .303 while outscoring New York (62-58) 46-29 to win six of nine in 2013.
Fourth in the East, the Yankees are 8 1/2 back of Boston and six games out of the final wild-card spot. Their five-game winning streak was snapped Thursday with an 8-4 loss to Los Angeles.
"It's playoff baseball for us right now," manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees' official website. "I think the guys enjoy the challenge, I really do. They understand what we have to do.
"We have to win a lot of games, we have to win series and we have to play extremely well."
Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62 ERA) is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA in his last five starts. That stretch began at Boston on July 19, when he allowed three of his four runs on two homers in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss. He'd given up a run in eight innings of a 4-2 home victory over the Red Sox on April 4.
The left-hander allowed eight hits and walked three over 4 1-3 innings but yielded only one run while throwing 101 pitches during Sunday's 5-4 victory over Detroit.
For an eighth consecutive start, Pettitte gave up a first-inning run. He's yielded 15 in the first during that span for a 16.88 ERA. This season, he has a 8.57 ERA in the first inning, surrendering 20 earned runs in 21 innings, and opponents are hitting .406 (39 for 96) in that frame.
Boston slugger David Ortiz is a lifetime .359 hitter - including the postseason - versus Pettitte, but has only one homer in those 64 at-bats. He's batted .364 against the Yankees this season but is 3 for 20 in his last five overall.
Teammate Jacoby Ellsbury went 2 for 20 in the final four games of the trip but has hit .370 (10 for 27) against Pettitte.
Boston starter Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66) is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees, including 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 2013.
The left-hander yielded five hits and threw 95 pitches over seven innings of a 4-0 win over Arizona on Aug. 4, but gave up three runs, six hits and walked four while throwing 98 in four frames of a 5-3 victory at Kansas City on Saturday.
Doubront will try to cool off Alfonso Soriano , who had four hits Thursday and is 10 for 14 with four homers and 14 RBIs in the last three games.
"I feel good at home plate," Soriano said. "I hope I continue hitting like this and help the team to win."
Alex Rodriguez , likely to be booed often this weekend, is 7 for 21 in his last five contests. However, he's 5 for 25 with eight strikeouts in his last six at Fenway.
New York signed veteran slugger Mark Reynolds , who was released last week after he hit .215 with 15 homers, 48 RBIs and struck out 123 times in 99 games for Cleveland.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||3||.333||1||0||1||0||0||.333||1.000||.667|
|New York Yankees|
|August 03, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|August 03, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Calf|
|July 27, 2013||Travis Hafner||15-Day DL||Strained right rotator cuff|
|July 23, 2013||Luis Cruz||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|July 20, 2013||Zoilo Almonte||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|July 19, 2013||Zoilo Almonte||Day-to-Day||Left game - left ankle sprain|
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 05, 2013||Matt Thornton||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|August 04, 2013||Matt Thornton||Day-to-Day||Right oblique soreness|
|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|
BOSTON (AP) -- Andy Pettitte changed his ways.
Alfonso Soriano just keeps going.
The Yankees outfielder had three hits and drove in four more runs - giving him 18 RBIs in his last four games - and Pettitte avoided his recent first-inning troubles to lead New York to a 10-3 victory over the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
Soriano, who was traded to New York from the Chicago Cubs last month, was 3 for 4 with a hit-by-pitch and a three-run homer in the third that made it 6-0.
"Here we go again," Soriano said as he approached reporters after the game. "I think the motivation (is) going back to the Yankees, trying to help the team win."
The Yankees won for the fifth time in six games and sent the Red Sox to their third consecutive loss. With Tampa Bay's victory over Toronto, Boston's lead in the division was trimmed to one game; the Yankees are 7 1/2 games back in the division and 5 1/2 back in the AL wild-card race.
"You're looking at a powerful right-handed hitter in the middle of the lineup who caught fire since he came over," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "It's had an enormous (impact) on their offense."
Alex Rodriguez had a pair of singles while getting booed loudly in his first appearance in Boston since he was suspended 211 games in baseball's latest steroid scandal. Rodriguez, who is allowed to play pending his appeal, was also mocked by fans with chants of "You do steroids" and signs that said, "A-Roid" and "AFraud."
"That reaction was pretty close to usual," he said. "We're in playoff baseball. Every game means the world to us. We're trying to stay very focused in here."
Pettitte (8-9) had allowed a run in the first inning in a franchise-record eight consecutive starts. But this time he retired the first eight Red Sox batters before Will Middlebrooks singled in the third. In all, Pettitte allowed three runs - none earned - on six hits and a walk, striking out five in 6 2-3 innings to win for the first time in six starts.
"It was one of those nights were I felt like everything was working," Pettitte said. "It was a big win for us. We've got to win this series. We've got to win a lot of series."
Mark Reynolds , who was released by the Cleveland Indians last week, hit a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the second to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. He is the 14th player in franchise history to homer in his first Yankees at-bat.
Felix Doubront (8-6) allowed seven runs - six earned - on eight hits and two walks, striking out four in four innings. It was the first time in 17 starts that he allowed more than three earned runs and just the second time all season.
"Two swings cost us five runs," said Farrell, whose team also committed three errors for the second time in three games. "This wasn't one of our more sharp efforts."
The Red Sox trailed 7-1 when they finally got to Pettitte in the seventh.
Dustin Pedroia reached and went to second on an error, then scored when David Ortiz line a ball off the left field Wall. But Soriano threw Ortiz out trying to stretch it into a double. One out later, Stephen Drew doubled and Mike Napoli walked and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in a run to make it 7-3.
Pinch-hitter Mike Carp tried to take first base, claiming he was hit in the foot by a pitch in the dirt, but was called back by home plate umpire Bill Welke. Carp was called out on strikes two pitches later and he slammed his helmet to the ground and was quickly ejected.
Boston also threatened in the eighth, getting runners on first and second with one out. But Ortiz lined it to Rodriguez, who was shifted into the shortstop's position, and he threw to second to double off Shane Victorino .
Ichiro Suzuki had one hit, a run-scoring Baltimore chop in the three-run ninth, giving him 3,995 combined in the major leagues and Japan.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter (strained right calf) shifted his rehab program to the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., where he took 34 swings over five rounds of batting practice. He also fielded 43 grounders and made throws to first base. ... Robinson Cano singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The attendance of 38,143 was a season-high at Fenway Park. ... The Red Sox committed three errors - Pedroia, Drew and pitcher Rubby De la Rosa - and the Yankees had two, both by shortstop Eduardo Nunez .