The defending World Series champions, who salvaged a 2-4 road trip with an 8-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, have continued to build on the momentum at Fenway Park, where they improved to 4-0 on a six-game homestand with a 6-5 victory over the Pirates on Friday.
Johnny Damon bounced a bases-loaded single through a drawn-in infield to break the ninth-inning tie in a rematch of the first-ever World Series.
The Pirates hadn’t played the Red Sox in Boston since coming to the Huntington Avenue Grounds in 1903, when the American and National Leagues agreed to stop raiding each other’s players and meet in a nine-game “world’s series.” Boston won it in eight games.
Mark Bellhorn hit a three-run homer for Boston, which has won five straight games twice previously this season, from April 14-18 and May 3-8. The Red Sox trail AL East-leading Baltimore by two games.
The Red Sox have outscored their opponents 29-9 and outhit them 47-23 during their winning streak, while Boston starters have given up nine runs and 21 hits in 35 innings. Veteran right-hander Tim Wakefield began the stretch with seven strong innings against the Cubs on Sunday to snap a personal five-start losing streak.
He finally regained control of his knuckleball, yielding one run and four hits without issuing a walk. The 38-year-old right-hander posted an 8.26 ERA and walked 20 in 28 1-3 innings during his skid.
“I made a little bit of an adjustment in my mechanics,” said Wakefield. “I can’t get out of my gameplan, I can’t try harder. I’m trying as hard as I can as it is. You just try to give good quality innings one at a time.”
Jason Bay went 2-for-5 and scored a run for the Pirates, who suffered their fifth straight defeat.
Pittsburgh has lost 10 in a row in AL ballparks, and is 17-40 in interleague play on the road.