Red Sox Seek First Series Sweep of Season

Red Sox Seek First Series Sweep of Season Red Sox Seek First Series Sweep of SeasonIn dire need of some sort of lift when their series with the Texas Rangers began Tuesday night, the Red Sox could not have drawn it up any better.

Consecutive walk-off wins over the Rangers have put Boston’s five-game losing streak in the rearview mirror and have the Sox on the verge of their first series sweep of the season.

Kevin Youkilis, who scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday, had the game-winning double in the bottom of the 12th on Wednesday, capping a dramatic 8-7 victory.

Boston erased a four-run deficit in both games and has received eight scoreless innings from its bullpen in the series.

Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Sox, opposite southpaw C.J. Wilson.

WHEN AND WHERE

Rangers (5-9) vs. Red Sox (6-9)
Thursday, April 22, 7 p.m. (NESN)
Fenway Park, Boston

HEAD TO HEAD

Boston has won 11 of the last 13 matchups at home.

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP C.J. Wilson (0-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 1.80 ERA)

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for Buchholz, who could still be competing to hold onto the fifth spot in the rotation. He was underwhelming in his opener at Kansas City and then done in by his defense in a loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Buchholz gave up four unearned runs in the first inning and then threw four scoreless frames thereafter. He finished allowing just three hits and striking out seven.

A native of Nederland, Texas, the 25-year-old Buchholz is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his career against the Rangers.

After four full seasons and most of a fifth coming out of the bullpen, Wilson won a job in the starting rotation this spring and has yet to disappoint.

In two starts, the southpaw has allowed three earned runs and struck out 14 in 13 innings. He is still seeking his first win as a starter in the majors.

LINEUPS

Rangers Red Sox
TBA

 

Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
Mike Lowell, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Darnell McDonald, CF
Bill Hall, LF

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Darnell McDonald is the first Red Sox player to hit a home run in his first two games with the team since Sam Horn on July 25-26, 1987.
  • Boston has consecutive walk-off wins for the first time since April 29-30, 2008.
  • The Sox have at least one double in 15 straight games, tied with Milwaukee for the longest active streak in the majors.

Rangers

  • Texas has lost five times this year on its opponents’ final at-bat.
  • The Rangers stole three more bases Wednesday, making it 32 straight without being caught against the Red Sox.
  • Left fielder Josh Hamilton was hitless in his last 13 at-bats entering Wednesday. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 12) Tuesday with a left chest contusion. He will be eligible to return April 27. The move was made after Ellsbury took some swings in an effort to test the injury.
  • Center fielder Mike Cameron was also placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sports hernia. His term is retroactive to April 19.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed four runs — three earned — in 5 2/3 innings in his third rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. Facing Lehigh Valley, Matsuzaka struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

Rangers

  • Right fielder Nelson Cruz left Wednesday’s game in the bottom of the 11th inning with fatigue in his right hamstring.
  • Second baseman Ian Kinsler got in an extended workout at Fenway Park on Tuesday and could begin playing in extended spring games at the club’s Arizona facility this week. He is targeting a return from a high ankle sprain before the month is out.
  • Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was scheduled to catch five innings to begin his rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is on the DL with an upper back strain.
  • Starter Tommy Hunter, out with a left oblique strain, threw a bullpen session Wednesday and may soon begin a rehab assignment.

OUTLOOK

It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox going for their first series sweep of the season after the way things went over the holiday weekend. But that’s what we have Thursday, thanks to a pair of dramatic wins the club hopes will fuel a run.

And with Texas on the ropes (it has lost six in a row) and the Red Sox’ punching bag Baltimore coming to town this weekend, a legitimate winning streak could be in the works.

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