Felix Doubront helped the Boston Red Sox begin June on a high note, and Clay Buchholz has given them solid pitching from the get-go.
They each seek another strong outing as Boston looks to end an eight-game losing streak to the visiting Los Angeles Angels in a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
Doubront (4-2, 4.88 ERA) had his best start of the season last Saturday, allowing one run and striking out six in six innings of an 11-1 win over the New York Yankees, beginning a stretch of four victories in five tries for the Red Sox (37-24).
Buchholz (8-0, 1.62) followed the next day with a gem of his own, holding New York to two hits in a 3-0 victory that was cut short after 5 1/2 innings due to rain.
Weather also played a factor Friday as the opener of this three-game series was postponed.
Boston has outscored opponents 39-12 while posting a 2.63 ERA to start the month after David Ortiz hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give it a 6-3 win over Texas on Thursday.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who returned from a five-game absence due to a groin injury, and Jonny Gomes each went 4 for 5. Dustin Pedroia, intentionally walked in front of Ortiz in the ninth, drove in two runs.
"I think it was a good move. I don't think there was anything wrong with that," Ortiz said of the walk to Pedroia. "It's part of the game. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."
Doubront, who will start the first game, has been very good over his last four outings, going 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA. However, he's not concerned with those statistics.
"Forget about the numbers. Every successful outing that I have the numbers are going to get better," Doubront told the team's official website.
Manager John Farrell has been impressed with how the left-hander has come on lately.
"He's making steady progress each time he walks to the mound," Farrell said. "(Saturday) was another step."
Buchholz, meanwhile, has just been steady. The right-hander has allowed more than two runs once in 11 starts, with Boston going 10-1.
"I've felt really good up to this point," Buchholz said. "I'm just trying to ride the wave."
Buchholz is 5-3 with a 4.85 ERA in nine starts versus Los Angeles. Albert Pujols is 4 for 6 with a homer and a double in their matchups.
Doubront will be making his first start against the Angels, who have outscored the Red Sox 63-32 during their win streak in the series.
Los Angeles (26-34), though, has been a disappointment this season and has dropped five of six after falling 8-6 in 10 innings to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Howie Kendrick went 7 for 8 in the two-game series, including a two-run homer in the finale.
"It was one of those rare games the last three weeks where the pitching didn't get it done," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Offensively we did enough to win a game, but we're still not firing on all cylinders."
The Angels had a 2.66 ERA over their previous eight games, and Tommy Hanson will look to provide another solid effort in the opener against a Red Sox team hitting .360 in June.
Hanson (2-2, 4.19) will be making his second start since coming off the bereavement list due to the death of his stepbrother. He gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Houston last Friday but said being on the mound was a big step.
"It was good to get back out there and pitch again," Hanson said. "I was excited to go out and pitch. Not exactly the performance I would've liked to put out there, but it's good to get that one over with."
The right-hander beat the Red Sox the only time he faced them, giving up two hits in six scoreless innings of a 2-1 win while with Atlanta on June 28, 2009.
C.J. Wilson (4-4, 3.93) will get the ball for Los Angeles in the nightcap. The left-hander suffered his fourth loss in five decisions Sunday despite a quality start, giving up three runs and striking out nine over 7 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss to the Astros.
That outing came after he allowed season highs of six earned runs and nine hits in a season-low 4 2-3 innings while not receiving a decision in an 8-7 loss to the Dodgers on May 27.
"It was a really unfortunate game because we need to win," Wilson told the team's official website Sunday. "We need to beat everybody, especially teams in our division. When you lose a one-run game, it's frustrating."
Wilson hasn't been frustrated too much when he's started against Boston, going 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA in seven outings. Pedroia, though, is 7 for 15 with a homer and two doubles when facing him, while Ortiz is 1 for 13 with five strikeouts.