Gabbard looks to build off a dominating start Saturday when the AL East-leading Red Sox continue their four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
Gabbard (3-0, 3.38 ERA) threw a three-hitter on Monday, beating the Kansas City Royals 4-0 in the first shutout at Fenway by a Red Sox rookie since Roger Clemens on July 26, 1984, and the first for a Boston rookie left-hander since Roger Moret on Sept. 24, 1971.
The start was Gabbard’s fifth this season and fourth since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 26. Since that promotion, Gabbard, who struck out a career-high eight batters, has won twice while allowing nine runs in 24 1-3 innings.
Over his last three starts, he has given up only nine hits in 21 innings
“Man, I love playing with him. I love playing behind him,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia told the team’s official Web site. “And, you know, he’s a great teammate to, so it’s fun to watch him do that.”
Gabbard is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four career starts at Fenway, as opposed to 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA in eight outings - five starts - on the road.
His only previous start against the White Sox came at home last Sept. 5, when he went seven innings in a 1-0 home win.
Gabbard is no doubt hoping the Red Sox (57-39) can stay hot at the plate after exploding for a 10-3 win on Friday. Coco Crisp lined a go-ahead three-run triple in the fifth inning and Julio Lugo added an eighth-inning grand slam for Boston, which had not managed more than five runs in any of its previous five games.
“Today was our day to break out and get our swagger back,” Crisp said.
The win was just Boston’s fourth in 12 games, and increased its division lead back to eight games over the New York Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay.
Lugo is batting .500 (19-for-38) during a 10-game hitting streak to raise his season average to .225, after a 3-for-46 slump had dropped it to .189.
Jim Thome homered for the White Sox (43-52), who had won three of four including a 4-2 victory in Thursday’s series opener. Thome’s homer came in the third, but Chicago managed only one hit the rest of the game.
Jose Contreras allowed a career-worst 10 runs for the White Sox.
John Danks (6-6, 4.81) will try to give Chicago a better outing. He is 3-0 over his last six starts despite a 5.61 ERA.
The rookie left-hander gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings during Monday’s 11-10 win in Cleveland. Danks, who has allowed a team-high 18 homers in 17 starts, surrendered two against the Indians. He has given up at least one home run in each of his last seven starts.