Braves-Red Sox Preview
Don't look now, but the Boston Red Sox are playing with a renewed confidence.
The Red Sox go for a third straight win over the Atlanta Braves as this home-and-home series shifts to Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Boston (22-29) had been outscored 52-26 during a 10-game losing streak - its longest in 20 years - before sweeping a two-game set in Atlanta. The Red Sox rallied from five down to win 8-6 on Monday, then held on for a 6-3 victory Tuesday.
"To come here ... with that streak and end up getting two (wins) here is really big," Tuesday's winning pitcher Jon Lester said.
Dustin Pedroia collected three of the team's 12 hits while Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Pedroia has hit safely in all seven interleague games this year, going 11 for 30 with three doubles and five runs scored.
"More than anything, our guys are having fun playing the game," manager John Farrell said. "It was a tough 10-game stretch we came through but there's been plenty of energy kind of injected back in the dugout."
The Braves (28-23), who went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, are 7 for 41 in such situations over their last five. Justin Upton stayed hot with three hits and Jason Heyward hit his fourth homer.
Atlanta will try to bounce back against John Lackey (5-3, 3.58 ERA), who has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his last six starts. The right-hander scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings in Friday's 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay.
"I felt pretty good," he told MLB's official website. "Didn't give up any runs, but their guy pitched good, too, and their bullpen behind it was good. One of those nights."
In his only appearance versus Atlanta, Lackey yielded two runs over six innings in a 4-2 road win with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005. He will be opposed by Gavin Floyd (0-1, 2.49), who has mostly pitched well since debuting earlier this month.
After missing all of April while recovering from elbow surgery, Floyd has struck out 24 and walked five in his first four starts spanning 25 1-3 innings. The right-hander surrendered two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings but didn't receive a decision in Friday's 3-2 win over Colorado.
"I feel strong," Floyd said. "I feel thankful that I've been able to recover and control pitches like I have been."
Floyd went 7-0 with a 2.75 ERA in eight starts against the Red Sox from 2008-12 while with the Chicago White Sox. However, he hasn't had much success against David Ortiz, who is 8 for 25 with three homers and two doubles in their matchups.
Braves catcher Evan Gattis was a late scratch Tuesday due to a strained right wrist, leaving his status for this game unclear. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons could also be held out after exiting in the eighth with inflammation in his right ankle.
"We don't see anything that is long-term," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of both injuries.
Upton is batting .471 with four homers and 14 RBIs over the last 10 games.
The Braves, 2-8 in their last 10 on the road, play 12 of their next 14 in opposing parks. They are 5-16 against the Red Sox dating to 2005.