The Boston Red Sox own the most wins in the AL, and the best overall record in interleague play has helped them accomplish that.
They're now hoping Xander Bogaerts can have an impact in his expected major league debut.
A day after being recalled from the minors, Bogaerts is expected to be in the lineup as the Red Sox attempt to win for the 10th time in 11 interleague games Tuesday night against the last-place San Francisco Giants .
Boston (74-53) leads the AL East by one game over Tampa Bay, and the Red Sox's success versus the opposite league has played a big role.
They're batting .327 and averaging 5.7 runs with a 10-3 interleague record compared to the Rays' 12-8 mark.
Boston has won 17 of 21 against the NL dating to last season, including four of five on the road after opening this three-game series with Monday's 7-0 rout of San Francisco (55-69).
Bogaerts, one of Boston's top prospects, provides depth at third base and shortstop, and hit .297 with 15 homers, 67 RBIs, 23 doubles and six triples in 116 minor league games between Triple-A and Double-A this season.
"He's had a very good year offensively," manager John Farrell said. "He's still got some development to do on the defensive side that he's working through, as well as on the basepaths. But we're talking about a young, exciting offensive player - a very good player all around that, at 20 years of age, is still developing. But we feel like he as a person and his abilities will give us a shot in the arm and make an impact here."
Victorino, who spent his first nine seasons in the NL, is hitting .444 with six doubles and six RBIs in nine contests against his former league. The right fielder had three of Boston's 12 hits Monday with an RBI to improve to 7 for 14 over the past three games overall.
Ellsbury singled in the opener to extend his interleague hitting streak to 16 games. He's batting .435 with nine stolen bases during that stretch.
Another strong offensive showing could help Jake Peavy (9-5, 4.41 ERA), who was supported with only six hits in Thursday's 2-1 loss to Toronto. The veteran right-hander tossed six scoreless innings before allowing two runs without getting an out in the seventh.
He's 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team, seven-player deal last month.
Peavy is making his first appearance in San Francisco since April 21, 2009, with San Diego. He's 8-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 13 career starts there.
The Giants, who have dropped 12 of 16 at home, are scheduled to counter with Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75), who gave up three runs and six hits over 3 2-3 innings at Washington on Thursday. He stood to get the loss before the Giants scored three in the ninth en route to a 4-3 win.
He was much better six days earlier, limiting Baltimore to two runs in six innings of a 5-2 loss in 10 in his return from a broken hand that sidelined him for 2 1/2 months.
Vogelsong is 1-2 with a 6.68 ERA in six home starts this season, and is facing the Red Sox for the first time since June 19, 2005, with Pittsburgh.
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 17, 2013||Mike Napoli||Day-to-Day||Sore left foot|
|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||60-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 15, 2013||Sandy Rosario||Day-to-Day||Bruised sternum|
|July 31, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||Day-to-Day||Bruised right heel|
|July 30, 2013||Buster Posey||Day-to-Day||Ill|
|July 29, 2013||Tony Abreu||15-Day DL||Left knee bursitis|
|July 25, 2013||Marco Scutaro||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|July 21, 2013||Jeremy Affeldt||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Unable to produce a clutch hit, the San Francisco Giants still found a way to win.
Brayan Villarreal walked Marco Scutaro with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, handing the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
The Giants squandered numerous opportunities early in the game, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but they tied it in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly in foul territory and used two walks and a hit batsman to win it.
"We have been on the other end of these games," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You take it any way you can get it. This was a good one."
Roger Kieschnick started the winning rally with a one-out single against Franklin Morales (2-1) for his third hit of the game. The Giants loaded the bases with two outs when Morales walked Andres Torres and hit pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez on the left wrist.
"We started out the inning in pretty good shape and then seemingly in a matter of about seven or eight pitches it looked like Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit and leaves us in a tough spot with two outs," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
With Brandon Workman having pitched the past two days, Farrell gave Villarreal his first appearance with the Red Sox. Villarreal was acquired in a deal last month from Detroit and called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.
He made a poor first impression, throwing four straight balls to Scutaro. Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens told Scutaro that Villarreal had control problems before the at-bat and that proved true. Villarreal has walked nine of 29 batters he has faced this season, including two with the bases loaded.
"When he told me that, I wanted to make sure I looked for my pitch and not be too aggressive," Scutaro said.
He did just that, giving the defending World Series champion Giants a rare reason to celebrate.
"It's nice to win one like this because we have been on the other side of them," said starter Ryan Vogelsong , who allowed two runs in seven innings. "When you play a tough game like that and things aren't going your way ... it's good to come out on the winning end of it."
The Red Sox couldn't hold a 2-0 lead and lost for the fifth time in seven games to fall percentage points behind Tampa Bay for the lead in the AL East.
Sergio Romo (4-6) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
After twice failing to get a runner in from third with no outs, the Giants finally delivered in the eighth inning to tie the game.
Scutaro reached on a one-out single and went to third on Brandon Belt 's single against Junichi Tazawa . Buster Posey then hit a high fly down the right-field line that Shane Victorino caught in foul territory. Scutaro scored easily on the sacrifice fly but Tazawa escaped without any further damage to keep the score tied at 2.
"No second-guessing guys. I let that ball fall and he hits a three-run homer then what are you guys going to say?" Victorino said. "When I was on the move over there I told myself catch the ball and try and get in the best position I could to make the throw."
Victorino helped give Boston the lead when he hit a rare right-handed homer off a righty pitcher. The switch-hitting Victorino is unable to bat left-handed because of an injured left leg. But that did not bother him when he led off the third inning with a drive to left that made it 2-0.
It was just the second time Victorino had hit a right-handed homer against a righty in his career, also doing it against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Sept. 24, 2010, according to STATS LLC.
It looked as if that 2-0 lead would stand up when Jake Peavy escaped jams in the fourth and fifth innings. Belt, who had three hits, was stranded after a leadoff triple in the fourth when Posey grounded out and Peavy struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford .
The Giants scored their first run of the series when Kieschnick led off the fifth with a single and scored on Joaquin Arias ' triple. But San Francisco couldn't get the equalizer when Vogelsong, Gregor Blanco and Scutaro followed with groundouts.
NOTES: SS Xander Bogaerts (20 years, 323 days) became the youngest position player to appear in a game for Boston since Dwight Evans (20, 318) in 1972. He went 0 for 3 and stranded five runners. ... San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval was scratched because of a sore back. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (neck and shoulder) threw 46 pitches in a simulated game and is set to make a rehab start Sunday. Farrell said he would like Buchholz to get three rehab starts but he might only get two depending on the minor league schedule. ... LHP Barry Zito (4-8) makes his first start of the month for the Giants in the series finale Wednesday after Chad Gaudin was placed on the DL. Felix Doubront (8-6) goes for Boston.