Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Pearce, who was acquired from Toronto on June 28, was in the Red Sox’s lineup the next day as the cleanup hitter and batted .450 during the team’s recent nine-game road trek. The 35-year-old slugger entered this series opener hitting only .214 in 27 career games at Fenway, but he clubbed a two-run homer in his first at-bat Monday and finished 2-for-4 as the American League East leaders cruised to a 5-0 victory. J.D. Martinez added a three-run blast to pad his major league-leading home run (28) and RBI (77) totals for Boston (63-29), which has won seven in a row and owns the best record in baseball. The Rangers lost for the sixth time in eight contests overall and have dropped their last four to the Red Sox by a combined score of 22-7 after defeating Boston 11-5 in their first meeting of the season.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FS Southwest (Texas), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Yovani Gallardo (3-0, 8.17 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Hector Velazquez (6-0, 2.76)
Gallardo has feasted on the AL Central and been provided a ton of run support since joining the Rangers’ rotation last month, going 3-0 in four starts despite a 5.87 ERA in part because his offense has scored at least seven runs each time. The 2010 All-Star collected his third win in as many turns Thursday at Detroit, permitting four runs (three earned) across 5 1/3 innings. Mookie Betts and Martinez are each 5-for-15 against Gallardo, who is 2-3 with a 5.25 ERA in seven starts versus Boston.
Velazquez will draw his first start since April 14 as the Red Sox continue to deal with injuries to the rotation. Despite going 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 24 relief appearances this season, the 29-year-old has shown some vulnerability of late, giving up two runs three times over his last seven outings. Velazquez, who is allowing opponents to bat .302 overall but is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a starter this season, gave up a three-run shot to Nomar Mazara while getting only two outs in relief against Texas on May 3.
1. Pearce has multiple hits in five of the six games he has more than one at-bat since joining the Red Sox, including four of his five starts.
2. Texas 3B Adrian Beltre singled in the fourth inning to move past Dave Winfield (3,110) and into sole possession of 20th place on the career list.
3. Martinez has exactly two hits in five straight contests and is 13-for-30 with three homers and 13 RBI over his last seven games.