Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview

John Lackey has endured some woes while facing the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Boston Red Sox starter hasn't faced Melky Cabrera much in recent years but figures to be challenged this time against the player who is second in the majors in hits.

Cabrera wielded a hot bat over the weekend and will try to help the Blue Jays defeat the Red Sox for a fifth straight time Monday night in Toronto.

Lackey (10-6, 3.79 ERA) is 5-8 with a 5.43 ERA in 20 starts against Toronto (51-48) for his second-worst ERA against any AL club. Cabrera has faced him more than any Toronto hitter, going 10 for 31 although he's just 0 for 2 off the right-hander over the last two years.

The left fielder went 7 for 13 as the Blue Jays took two of three at home from Texas this past weekend. He turned in his second straight three-hit effort in Sunday's 9-6 victory, ending a 24-game homerless drought with a seventh-inning solo shot.

Cabrera, who has 124 hits to trail only Houston's Jose Altuve, had three RBIs Sunday to match his total from his previous 17 games.

''The All-Star break did him wonders,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He just needed to refresh a little bit. His hand speed, bat speed looks a little bit better.''

Cabrera is hitting .342 during a nine-game streak against Boston, going 8 for 17 with two homers, three doubles, six runs scored and four RBIs in the last four meetings.

The Red Sox (46-52) should be confident heading into this four-game series as winners of four straight and seven of eight.

Brock Holt is 14 for 28 over his last six games for Boston and entered Sunday as one of baseball's best two-strike hitters with a .265 average. He went 5 for 9 in the last series against Toronto between May 20-22.

The Red Sox capped a three-game home sweep against Kansas City with Sunday's 6-0 victory. The sweep came despite limited production from Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

Pedroia was 1 for 12 and left eight runners on base while Ortiz, who has a team-high 64 RBIs, was limited to a double in 13 at-bats.

Ortiz has gone 16 straight at-bats without a hit against Toronto, and he's 0 for 6 against Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16), who starts Monday.

Hutchison, who is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox, has surrendered nine runs over 11 innings in consecutive defeats.

The right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA in seven home starts.

Boston's Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts figure to return to the lineup after they got Sunday off. Napoli is third on the team with 35 RBIs and Bogaerts is seventh with 24.

Manager John Farrell said he will be careful with players on this seven-game trip exclusively on artificial turf. That means he plans to not use Shane Victorino in the outfield at some point after the 33-year old returned Saturday for his first action since May 23 since he was out due to a right hamstring injury.

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