Padres-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

Everything seems to be going the Boston Red Sox's way right now.

The San Diego Padres, meanwhile, can't catch a break.

The surging Red Sox go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Padres, who try to avoid a season-high sixth consecutive loss Thursday.

After taking Tuesday's opener 4-1, Boston (52-34) pulled out a 2-1 victory Wednesday on Jonny Gomes' pinch-hit walkoff homer. The Red Sox, who have hit .335 in winning seven of eight during their nine-game homestand, have taken 17 of 22 at Fenway Park.

"Whether it's me or someone else, winning's fun. It's contagious," said Gomes, who has appeared in just 10 of the team's last 18 games but has three homers and nine RBIs in that span.

Gomes is batting .432 with three homers during an 11-game hitting streak versus San Diego, which has lost 11 of 15.

The Padres (40-45), limited to six hits in each of the last two games, have batted .172 during their five-game skid while getting outscored 23-5.

"When we lose a game like that, there's nothing we can do," Wednesday's starter Edinson Volquez said. "We battled the whole game. We lost in the ninth. Can't happen. We've got to come back tomorrow and win the next game."

Logan Forsythe and Chris Denorfia are a combined 0 for 27 over the last four days, and Chase Headley is 2 for his last 18.

The Padres, who have now dropped five straight on three separate occasions, haven't lost six in a row since May 25-30, 2012.

They will try to get back on track behind Eric Stults (6-6, 3.51 ERA), who was tagged for a season-high six runs and seven hits in a season-low 3 2-3 innings Saturday in a 7-1 loss at Miami.

The left-hander had gone 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his previous six starts, allowing one or two runs in each.

"It was just one of those nights where groundballs go through," manager Bud Black said. "He has been so consistent, so good, so reliable since he has been here, it was inevitable he'd have a rough game here or there."

Stults is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in four career interleague starts but has never faced Boston.

The Red Sox counter with rookie Allen Webster (0-2, 9.50), who will make his third start since his third call-up from the minors this year. The right-hander yielded four runs in six innings of Friday's 7-5 win over Toronto.

"I thought he showed a lot of poise," manager John Farrell told MLB's official website. "I thought overall he showed very good stuff. He pitched against a very good fastball hitting team. Again, I think the most encouraging thing was the number of ground balls (a season-high 14) he was able to induce."

Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .400 during a 13-game hitting streak. He's hit safely in 11 straight against NL opponents, batting .458 with 10 runs and eight stolen bases.

Mike Napoli could be back in the lineup after getting the night off Wednesday. He's batting .211 with one extra-base hit - a double - over a 20-game stretch.

"We're working to try to create a little bit more of a shorter stroke, and we can't pinpoint anything physically," Farrell said.

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