The Boston Red Sox may be trying for their longest winning streak in 10 months, but they're probably more concerned with playing a small part in helping a city heal from tragedy.
After winning their first game since the Boston Marathon bombing, the Red Sox will try to continue their success and hand Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson his first loss of the season Wednesday night.
The Red Sox (9-4) beat the Indians 7-2 in the opener of this three-game series Tuesday in their first game against former manager Terry Francona, who helped them win two World Series in eight years.
The reunion was an afterthought since the Sox were also taking the field a day after a pair of explosions near the Boston Marathon's finish line killed three and injured more than 170.
0-0, 6.75 ERA
4/11 vs BAL
5.0 IP, 2 ER
Dec = ND
3-0, 0.41 ERA
4/12 vs CHW
9.0 IP, 0 ER
Dec = Win
The Red Sox also displayed a jersey with No. 617 -- Boston's area code -- with "Boston" above the numerals and "Strong" below it. They return to Fenway Park after this series, opening a 10-game homestand against Kansas City on Friday.
"Given what's taken place, this is fresh on everyone's minds," manager John Farrell said. "Even though we may not be in Boston right now, we carry this with us. We feel very much a part of the city and the community and everything that goes on there.
"We have not forgotten by any means."
With the tragic events still weighing on their minds, the Red Sox will try to win five straight for the first time since June 16-21.
Boston also attempts to win at Cleveland (5-7) for the sixth time in eight visits. Red Sox pitchers have compiled a 2.66 ERA and limited the Indians to a .198 average in the last seven games there, and another strong performance may be needed with Masterson (3-0, 0.41) on the mound.
Nick Swisher will look to rejuvnate an Indians offense that has struggled to score runs their past two games. The Tribe takes on Boston in the middle-game of a three-game series at Progressive Field on Wednesday night. AP Photo
Masterson, who won his first five starts of 2011 with a 2.18 ERA, has tossed a career-high 19 scoreless innings since the only run he's allowed this season in a 4-1 win at Toronto on April 2.
"It's going to end sometime, right?" Masterson said of his streak. "You have to go out and finish off innings, which is something I'm trying to do."
He was superb again Friday, tossing a five-hitter before Nick Swisher's walkoff single clinched a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander, however, was a 12-1 loser to the Red Sox in his most recent start against them May 13. He gave up six runs and seven hits in six innings, after going 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA over his first four career meetings against the team he began his career with in 2008.
He'll have to contend with Mike Napoli, who is 7 for 21 with four doubles and seven RBIs over the past five games. He had a pair of doubles, and drove in two in the Red Sox's seven-run second inning Tuesday.
Napoli is hitting .371 with seven RBIs in his past 10 meetings with the Indians.
Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 6.75) is scheduled to make his second start in place of John Lackey, who is on the disabled list with a right biceps strain.
Aceves allowed two runs and six hits with three walks in five innings while not getting a decision in a 3-2 loss to Baltimore on Thursday. It was the right-hander's first start since June 21, 2011.
All six of Aceves' appearances versus the Indians have come in relief, and he's yielded two runs with eight strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. He's tossed four scoreless innings in two games in Cleveland.
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