Los Angeles (38-30) at Boston (42-28)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 20, 2010
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Even without J.D. Drew(notes), the Boston Red Sox are getting by just fine at the plate. Clay Buchholz(notes) has needed very little run support of late, anyway.

With Drew expected to be shelved again, the surging Red Sox hope for another outstanding start from Buchholz as they try for their first sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia(notes) singled home the winning run for Boston (42-28) in a 5-4 win over Los Angeles (38-30) on Saturday. It gave the Red Sox five straight wins for the second time this season, left them one game out of first place in the AL East and put them in position to sweep the three-game series.

“You know you’re in a fight when you play in this ballpark,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

This is the fifth series between these franchises, including Boston’s win over the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1916 World Series. The Red Sox have a chance to earn their first sweep over the Dodgers, even though Drew has been out for most of the series.

Drew injured his right hamstring in the third inning of a 10-6 win over Los Angeles in the opener Friday night. He had to leave the game, but the Red Sox went on to score seven runs without him.

Though Drew sat out Saturday, Boston reached double digits in hits for the fifth straight contest. The veteran right fielder doesn’t expect to be out long, but manager Terry Francona said he won’t play Sunday.

“I’ll probably be a couple of days just to get things under wrap,” Drew said.

Bill Hall(notes) is likely to replace Drew for the second straight game.

Boston isn’t likely to need an extraordinary performance at the plate with Buchholz (9-4, 2.67 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander is 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last seven starts.

Buchholz gave up three runs and struck out eight in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 win over Arizona on Tuesday night.

Buchholz has never faced Los Angeles.

The Dodgers, losers of six of eight, are in desperate need of a strong outing from Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (6-4, 3.10). They have a 5.68 ERA over the last eight games, surrendering eight home runs in the past three contests.

Kuroda has not allowed a run in his last two starts, spanning 12 innings. The right-hander won his last outing, striking out eight in five innings of a 12-0 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

This is Kuroda’s first appearance versus the Red Sox.

Manny Ramirez(notes) homered in his second game back at Fenway Park. The Dodgers slugger hit a solo shot in the sixth inning Saturday after going 1 for 5 in the series opener.

“He certainly is comfortable hitting in this park,” Torre said.

Los Angeles acquired Ramirez in a trade with Boston in July 2008. He helped the Red Sox win two titles while playing for them from 2001-08, and was the 2004 World Series MVP.

Ramirez is 10 for 22 (.455) with three homers and six RBIs over his last six games.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Kuroda NYY vs. C. Buchholz Bos
11-13 Record 17-7
3.39 ERA 2.33
159 K 120
48 BB 67
1.16 WHIP 1.20

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 20