If the Boston Red Sox are to build on the momentum generated from a stellar homestand and improve their recent road play, they'll need to cool off the surging Los Angeles Angels.
The Red Sox look for a fifth straight victory Friday night while trying to prevent C.J. Wilson from winning a career-high fifth consecutive start for the Angels.
Boston (53-34) hit .349 and outscored Colorado, Toronto and San Diego 51-30 during an 8-1 homestand. Jacoby Ellsbury had three of the Red Sox's 18 hits and Dustin Pedroia delivered a two-run double in Thursday's 8-2 victory over the Padres.
The Red Sox have hit .319 and averaged 6.0 runs while winning 18 of 23 at Fenway Park, but batted .247 and scored 3.8 while losing seven of 10 on the road.
Boston manager John Farrell hopes his club can turn things around this week at Los Angeles, Seattle and Oakland before the All-Star break.
"I think it's important to have that momentum going into the break," he told the Red Sox's official website. "You never want to have a stretch where you start to maybe slide back from the confidence that's been built or the wins that we've been able to amass.
"So we're going to be challenged not only in terms of the teams we're playing. Obviously the Angels are playing better now than when they were in town here last."
Los Angeles (41-44) lost two of three at Fenway last month, but has won eight of nine heading into this three-game set.
"It's all about momentum," slugger Josh Hamilton said after the Angels scored three in the ninth to rally for a 6-5 win over St. Louis on Thursday. "We kind of feed off each other, especially during this little but of a stretch we've had."
The Angels swept a three-game home set from Boston last season after the Red Sox won the previous seven at Anaheim.
Pedroia is batting .486 with eight RBIs in his last 10 games overall, and .378 in his last nine versus Los Angeles.
He's 8 for 17 with a homer and three doubles against Wilson (8-5, 3.63 ERA), who has posted a 2.42 ERA while winning four in a row. The left-hander allowed an unearned run, three hits and struck out 10 during Sunday's 3-1 victory at Houston.
Wilson has yielded two runs and seven hits over 14 innings to win two straight at home. However, he's 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox after he went 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in his first five.
In his most recent loss, Wilson allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-2 defeat at Boston on June 8.
Mike Trout, who had a two-run single Thursday for Los Angeles, is batting .415 with a homer and six RBIs in nine games versus Boston.
Hamilton went 2 for 14 at Fenway last month but is 12 for 30 (.400) with six RBIs in nine games to raise his average from .207 to .226. His lone home run during that stretch was a tying two-run shot in the ninth Thursday.
He's 4 for 9 with two doubles and a triple against scheduled Red Sox starter Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.22), who allowed three runs in six innings of a 9-5 loss to the Angels last month.
That's the only decision the left-hander has earned while posting a 3.00 ERA in his last five starts. He gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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