Bay hopes his third game will bring the Red Sox a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, as the Red Sox close a nine-game homestand and their season series with the slumping A’s on Sunday.
One night after Boston’s new left fielder hit a 12th-inning triple and scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory, Bay picked up where he left off on Saturday, hitting a three-run home run in the first inning that broke a tie in the Red Sox’s 12-2 win.
“It’s the same game,” Bay said. “Regardless of what jersey I’m wearing, it’s the same game I’ve played my entire life.”
Before Saturday’s win, the Red Sox (63-48) had scored just 47 runs in their previous 14 games - 28th in the majors over that span. But Kevin Youkilis hit two two-run homers and Jed Lowrie added a three-run double as part of a 14-hit attack. Boston is still third in the AL with 552 runs.
“I still believe that it comes down to our pitching,” catcher Jason Varitek told his team’s official Web site. “We’ve got to pitch the ball well and play good defense. We’re going to have days like this. We haven’t had one in quite a while.”
Boston was 36-11 at Fenway Park entering its current homestand, but it lost five of its first six before trading away Manny Ramirez and acquiring Bay before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Now, it has a chance at its seventh home sweep of an opponent this season with Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-2, 3.04 ERA) on the mound Sunday. The right-hander will be looking to bounce back from a tough outing Monday, when he gave up six runs in five innings of a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
He has fared better against the A’s this year, though he hasn’t faced them since April 1.
Matsuzaka gave up two hits and two runs in five innings on opening day in his native Tokyo in Boston’s 6-5, 10-inning victory. He beat the A’s a week later, however, striking out nine and allowing one run and two hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Oakland.
He’ll hope to continue to hold down an offense that is looking more and more like the worst in the AL.
The A’s (53-56) are last in the AL with a .246 team batting average, and their output has been especially paltry lately. They’ve scored 10 total runs during their current five-game losing streak, and have lost 14 of 16 overall.
They’ll hope to end the skid with Dallas Braden (2-1, 4.39) on the mound. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts after making his first nine appearances of 2008 out of the bullpen. He gave up four runs Monday in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss to Kansas City.
Braden has never faced the Red Sox, but the A’s have seen plenty of Boston this season. They’ll be looking to salvage a split of the 10-game season series after the clubs split eight games in 2007.