Fresh off a huge series win against their archrivals, the Boston Red Sox look to keep their momentum going as they visit the Texas Rangers for the opener of a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington.
On Sunday, the Red Sox scored six runs in the seventh inning, rallying for a 6-4 win over the New York Yankees. Boston took two of three in the heated series, moving within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East.
“It’s the difference between 3 1/2 out and 1 1/2 out,” said second baseman Todd Walker. “It would take two months to catch up with them from 3 1/2 games, so it was a big win.”
The series win was the Red Sox’ first against their division rivals this season, and their first after the All-Star break since 1999.
“It’s good to come out with a win. It’s even better to win a series against the Yankees,” outfielder Johnny Damon said. “It shows everybody that we are for real. We won’t count ourselves out, even against the Yankees.
“We all feel like this is our time. We all feel like we’re going to get back to the playoffs and make things happen.”
The Yankees open a three-game series at Anaheim on Tuesday.
The Rangers come in off Monday’s 10-1 win over the Seattle Mariners—just their third victory in nine games.
Rafael Palmeiro hit a grand slam and a three-run homer for a career-high seven runs. He moved into 15th place on the all-time home run list with 514, two ahead of Ernie Banks.
Hank Blalock went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs for Texas.
STANDINGS: Red Sox - 2nd place, 1 1/2 GB, AL East. Rangers - 4th place, 20 GB, AL West.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Tim Wakefield (7-5, 4.21 ERA). On Wednesday, Wakefield gave up four earned runs and six hits in seven innings of a 10-4 win over Tampa Bay. In 20 career appearances against Texas, including 13 starts, the veteran knuckleballer is 5-9 with a 5.98 ERA—his second-worst mark against any AL opponent.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: R.A. Dickey (4-5, 5.09 ERA). The right-hander, who has made just two starts this season, suffered a 3-2 loss to Baltimore on Monday, giving up three earned runs and six hits over six innings. He is 1-0 with a 7.20 ERA in two career appearances against the Red Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Manny Ramirez and Bill Mueller, .326 avg.; Ramirez, 25 HRs and 79 RBIs; Nomar Garciaparra, 83 runs; Damon, 20 SBs. Rangers - Michael Young, .324 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez and Palmeiro, 24 HRs; Gonzalez, 70 RBIs; Rodriguez, 73 runs; Young and Rodriguez, 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - LHP Casey Fossum was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. INF-OF Lou Collier was called up to take his place on the roster. … On Saturday, CF Damon became the 13th player in club history to steal at least 20 bases in at least two consecutive seasons, but only the fourth since 1919. Tris Speaker holds the club record with seven consecutive seasons with at least 20 steals from 1909-15. … In 10 career appearances, including seven starts, at Arlington, RHP Wakefield is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA. Rangers - 2B Young went 8-for-19 (.500) with six runs in the four-game series with the Mariners. … DH-1B Palmeiro is hitting just 4-for-20 (.200) with one homer in his career against RHP Wakefield. … Palmeiro tied OF Gonzalez for the franchise record with his seventh grand slam as a Ranger.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 27-26 on the road; Rangers - 24-28 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL. Rangers - OF Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.