Boston (39-21) at Arizona (36-26)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Sat Jun 9, 2007
  • TV: NESN, KTVK
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Something about playing the Arizona Diamondbacks has brought out the best in J.D. Drew.

The Boston right fielder looks to continue his offensive outburst against the Diamondbacks on Saturday night, and lead the Red Sox to a third straight win when they play the middle game of their series at Chase Field.

Boston (39-21) had scored just 12 runs in its last five games before Drew hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high seven RBIs in Friday’s series-opening 10-3 victory.

Drew, who signed a $70-million, five-year contract with the Red Sox in the offseason, had just two home runs in his first 50 games of the season.

“It was fun to watch him swing the bat like that,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “The team got directly rewarded. He was a lot of our offense tonight, and we need that long term.”

Success against the Diamondbacks is nothing new for Drew.

In 60 career games against Arizona, Drew is batting .346 and has more home runs (18) and RBIs (52) against the Diamondbacks than against any other opponent.

Drew, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, is batting .425 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 19 games against Arizona since the start of last season.

The Red Sox have won back-to-back games following a season-high four-game losing skid. Boston owns the best record in baseball, and leads Baltimore, Toronto and the New York Yankees by 10 1/2 games in the AL East.

The Diamondbacks (36-26) dropped their second straight game on Friday, and have not lost three consecutive games since losing five in a row May 1-5.

Arizona is tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the majors over the last three weeks (14-5), but trails first-place San Diego by one game in the NL West.

“We didn’t come out to play today, and we have to come out and play better against a team like that,” Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson said. “We need to come out and show we can play with a team like that.”

Arizona rookie Micah Owings (4-1, 3.86 ERA) makes his first start in more than a week when he takes the ball on Saturday.

Although he is 3-0 in his last five starts, Owings was skipped over in the rotation earlier this week due to off days. This will be his first career interleague start.

The right-hander hasn’t started since allowing one run and seven hits in five innings of an 11-5 win over Philadelphia on May 29 - one start after he threw his first career complete game in a 9-1 win over Houston five days earlier.

Boston counters with Julian Tavarez (3-4, 5.33), who looks to shake off a couple of mediocre starts.

Tavarez hasn’t lost since May 11 to Baltimore, but he hasn’t been too sharp in his last two outings. He’s allowed seven runs in 11 1-3 innings in his last two starts, after giving up three runs in 12 2-3 innings in winning his previous two.

The right-hander allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Oakland on Monday.

Tavarez has not started a game against a NL team since 2002 when he was pitching for Florida, and he has not faced the Diamondbacks since 2001 when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

In two career starts against Arizona, he has not recorded a decision, allowing nine runs in nine innings in those contests.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Tavarez Was vs. M. Owings Was
7-11 Record 8-8
5.15 ERA 4.30
77 K 106
51 BB 50
1.50 WHIP 1.28

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jun 9