The Yankees look to finally break through against the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as the AL East archrivals meet with first place on the line for the first time in more than a year.
Boston (33-24) hasn’t won six in a row against New York (34-23) in a season since a seven-game run from May 8-July 29, 1974. The Red Sox swept a three-game series at Fenway in late April and won a two-game set in the Bronx in early May.
A potent offense has been the catalyst for Boston’s success against the Yankees. The Red Sox are batting .303 with eight homers and 14 doubles in the five games while New York’s starting pitchers have compiled a 6.58 ERA.
Teixeira is batting .364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs in 28 games since Rodriguez made his season debut May 8. The Yankees are 20-8 in those contests, giving them the best winning percentage in the majors in that span.
This is the first time the teams will open a series vying for first place since April 2008, when they were tied atop the division at 9-7.
“I look forward to it,” Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell(notes) told the team’s official Web site. “I think it’s a great way to see how you measure up at certain points in the season. … They’re always exciting games, and the two teams mixed up with a lot of talent.”
Boston dropped its second straight home series over the weekend, losing two of three to Texas. The Red Sox fell 6-3 in Sunday’s finale, although they’ve won five of seven overall.
David Ortiz(notes) went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts after hitting his second home run of the season the night before. The designated hitter is batting .197 and had his eyes checked Monday, but the exam didn’t reveal any vision problems.
Although he’s been in a season-long slump, Ortiz is 6 for 19 (.316) with four doubles and five RBIs against the Yankees this year.
New York took the last two games of its three-game series versus Tampa Bay, winning 5-3 on Monday. Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher(notes), Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter(notes) homered, with Damon’s solo shot in the sixth breaking a 3-3 tie.
Burnett is 5-0 with a 3.52 ERA in nine starts versus the Red Sox, but struggled badly April 25 in his first start against them as a Yankee. Handed a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning, the right-hander gave up eight runs and eight hits - two homers - in five innings of a 16-11 loss.
Josh Beckett(notes) (6-2, 4.09) started for the Red Sox in that game and allowed eight runs and two homers among his 10 hits over five innings. He didn’t get the victory, but is 5-1 with a 4.34 ERA in his last seven starts against the Yankees after pitching six innings of three-run ball in a 7-3 win May 5.