After roughing up Martinez in his return to Fenway Park, the Red Sox look to extend the longest winning streak in the major leagues this season and set an AL mark for consecutive errorless games when they close a three-game series with the New York Mets on Thursday.
Boston’s 11 consecutive victories have all come in interleague play. A big key to the run has been the team’s improved defense, which has gone a league record-tying 15 straight games without an error.
“I know there will be games where you get a little sloppy or something,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “But we have a very good defensive team. When we play other guys that aren’t regulars … we don’t lose anything defensively. We should be good defensively. That should be one of our constants.”
Boston last won 12 in a row from Aug. 3-14, 1995. To match that run, the Red Sox must complete a sweep of the Mets (47-30), who haven’t lost more than two in a row all season.
The Red Sox team record is 15 consecutive wins, set in 1946.
Martinez, the longtime ace of the Red Sox staff who helped the club win its first World Series in 86 years in 2004, received a warm ovation from the Fenway crowd Wednesday night. Boston’s lineup wasn’t nearly as friendly.
The Red Sox knocked out Martinez after three innings, pounding him for eight runs—six earned—and seven hits.
“The Red Sox are a hot team right now and will probably unload on anybody,” he said.
Boston, 13-1 against the NL this season, remained 3 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees for the AL East lead.
The Red Sox swept three-game series from Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia, and will try to finish off New York behind current ace Curt Schilling (9-2, 3.61 ERA).
The right-hander was first in the AL to nine wins, but has failed to earn a decision in each of his last three starts since a June 8 win over the Yankees, despite a 2.70 ERA over that span. He now trails Detroit’s Kenny Rogers and Boston teammate Josh Beckett, who got his 10th victory Wednesday with 7 2-3 innings of two-run ball.
Schilling is 12-5 with a 2.41 ERA and five complete games in 25 appearances, including 17 starts, against New York. He’s beaten the Mets three straight times, although he hasn’t faced them since August 2001.
Schilling struck out a season-high 10 and allowed three earned runs in six innings of Boston’s 5-3, 10-inning win over the Phillies on Saturday, but he loaded the bases with no outs before departing. Philadelphia went on to score the tying run.
The Mets have dropped seven of 12, but continue to lead the NL East by 12 games over the second-place Phillies.
A big reason for that has been left-hander Tom Glavine (11-2, 3.33), the major league leader in wins who will oppose Schilling on Thursday.
Glavine hasn’t lost since April 24 and was again outstanding in his last start, holding Toronto to one run in seven innings for a 6-1 win Friday.
“I’m still not where I want to be,” Glavine said. “I’ve been able to make decent pitches when I had to. I’m not 100 percent comfortable, but it’s getting closer. By no means do I feel as good as earlier in the year, but the offense takes heat off you by scoring runs early.”
The left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in eight starts against the Red Sox.
The Mets have allowed 19 runs in this series, their highest two-game total of the season.
Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta went 1-for-4 on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.