Boston shoots for its ninth straight win and third straight series sweep after a blowout 16-4 win on Saturday over the Blue Jays, a victory that tied the Red Sox with the Indians for the lengthiest win streak in 2011. Boston's lead in the American League East remains at two games after, New York, in second place, won its second straight over Cleveland.
An offense that was so good on paper has looked just as good on the field. The Red Sox scored more runs in one inning on Saturday (seven in the fifth) than Toronto has scored in the first two games of the series (five), and six Red Sox had multiple hits.
At Rogers Centre in Toronto on Sunday, Jon Lester can become the AL's first pitcher to nine wins when he squares off against Toronto's Kyle Drabek -- the second time the two have opposed each other this season.
Drabek, a rookie, tied a career high by allowing nine hits in his last outing against the Royals on Tuesday. He gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings, but took the win in an 8-5 victory.
Drabek's control leaves something to be desired: he has more walks (48) than strikeouts (43) in 68 2/3 innings.
Lester was roughed up by the Blue Jays the last time he faced them, on May 10, also in Toronto. He gave up five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Drabek allowed four runs in five innings, also taking a no-decision in Toronto's 7-6 victory.
"Today was just one of those days when I didn't have it," Lester said after the outing. "I didn't have good command of really anything. There was no pitch I could go to that got me back into counts or got me bad contact. It was just one of those deals where we had to battle our way through no matter what the situation was. You have these starts, and I've got to do a better job of minimizing the damage, and I didn't do that tonight."
Red Sox: Youkilis gets rare day off
Kevin Youkilis was given a day off Saturday and Jed Lowrie started in his place at third base.
Youkilis had played in Boston's last 10 games at either third or designated hitter. Lowrie, 0-for-5, was the only Red Sox starter to go hitless, though he did drive in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
""I thought it was a good day. He's a little beat up," Francona said. "He's just diving all over the place, sliding, getting hit. [The day off] will be good for him. It can't hurt."
Bobby Jenks won't resurface until the Sox visit the Rays next week, at the soonest.
Boston's right-handed setup man, on the disabled list because of back tightness, was expected to join the team in Toronto this weekend, but a mixup at the airport held him back.
"There was a snafu at the airport -- I don't know what happened. He was at the airport, but he couldn't get on [his flight]" Francona said. "When he gets down to Tampa, we'll know more and we'll see where he's at."
Boston starts a three-game series with the Rays on Tuesday.
Blue Jays: Escobar returns; Hill given day off
Yunel Escobar went 0-for-3 in his return to the lineup Saturday, after he missed missing three games with a bruised left quad.
Mike McCoy started in place of Aaron Hill at second base and went 1-for-4. Manager John Farrell simply wanted Hill to rest.
"He has played every day since he came back [from the disabled list in May] and has really been in need of a day off, I felt like," Farrell said. "This is a chance to get McCoy through a rotation because quite honestly at this time of year, most everybody is dealing with some kind of physical issues and it's a chance to get him out of the lineup, [in a] day game after a night game."
Boston's won 23 of its last 35 against the Blue Jays, stretching to August 2008.