Boston opened a six-game homestand with a three-game sweep of Cincinnati, including a 6-1 win on Wednesday. The defending World Series champions, who trail AL East-leading Baltimore by three games, have been doing everything right since an 8-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Boston has increased its team batting average from .277 to .283, lowered its earned run average from 5.08 to 4.84 and made no errors on its four-game surge. The Red Sox never trailed against the Reds, outscoring them 23-4 and outhitting them 36-15.
“Hope it continues,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “When you get good starting pitching, when we’re not playing catchup, whatever offense we get looks good. Ends up being a great night.”
Starters have allowed just five runs and 17 hits in 29 innings during the winning streak for Boston, which has won five straight games twice previously this season, from April 14-18 and May 3-8.
Wade Miller looks to continue that trend Thursday against the Pirates. The 28-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts at home this season.
The starters “just have to give us a shot to win,” said Boston’s Kevin Millar, who has boosted his batting average from .259 to .278 over the last four games. “Offensively, we’re going to score runs, especially at home.”
Pittsburgh has lost four straight, including a 6-1 defeat to the New York Yankees on Thursday.
Michael Restovich hit a homer for the Pirates, who also lost their ninth in a row in AL ballparks and dropped to 17-39 on the road in interleague play.
Boston took two of three at PNC Park in June 2003, the only other regular season meeting between the teams.