The Blue Jays look to continue their success against the Red Sox when the AL East rivals continue their three-game set on Wednesday night.
Boston (7-5) is 4-1 at home, where it’s scored 39 runs in five games and hit .274. Away from Fenway Park, though, the Red Sox have dropped four of seven games while totaling only 20 runs and batting .235 - a figure that drops to .217 with runners in scoring position.
The road hitting woes continued in Tuesday’s series opener at Rogers Centre, as Boston scored its only run on a solo homer by Wily Mo Pena, wasting a quality start from rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka and losing 2-1.
Losing to Toronto (8-5) is nothing new for the Red Sox, who fell to 14-24 against the Blue Jays since the start of 2005. Boston also has lost four straight games in Toronto and eight of its last 11 there.
Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield (1-1, 1.38 ERA) has frequently suffered from a lack of run support. The 40-year-old knuckleballer has received no runs of support in seven of his 12 losses since the start of last season, including a 5-0 defeat at Toronto on Sept. 25 and a 2-0 loss at Texas on April 6.
In his outing Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, however, Wakefield received a lift from his personal catcher. Doug Mirabelli, who usually only plays when Wakefield pitches, went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs in a 10-1 rout.
“When a guy who’s not playing every day gives you an offensive punch like that, it gives your whole team a lift,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Mirabelli, who has not played since that contest.
The Blue Jays have won three of their last four games by identical 2-1 scores. They emerged victorious Monday despite a season-low three hits - all singles - but were helped when Matsuzaka walked Gregg Zaun with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, scoring Frank Thomas with the eventual winning run.
“We didn’t do much, but we did enough,” said center fielder Vernon Wells, who singled to start Toronto’s two-run rally in the fourth. “Guys went up there with a good approach. A lot of us were swinging at high fastballs, and guys went up there that inning and were trying to lay off that stuff.
“If you’re able to do that, it gives you a better chance to hit.”
The Blue Jays send Tomo Ohka (0-1, 7.84) to the mound as they seek their third straight victory. The right-hander began his career with Boston from 1999-2001, but the Red Sox are the only major league team he has never faced.
Ohka, who signed with the Blue Jays in January after pitching for Milwaukee in 2006, allowed five runs - four earned - and eight hits in six innings of last Thursday’s 5-4 loss to Detroit.