(Sports Network) - Coming off their best offensive showing of the season, the Boston Red Sox will try to carry over that momentum and post a fifth straight victory over the Detroit Tigers when they open a four-game set against the American League Central residents today at Comerica Park.
The Red Sox absolutely dominated the Cleveland Indians in Wednesday's finale of a three-game series, putting up seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 14-2 rout. Carl Crawford led the onslaught by going 4-4, falling a triple shy of the cycle and connecting on one of four Boston home runs on the day.
Crawford was batting just .155 at the start of May, but has notched a .308 average in 23 games this month to up his season average to .229.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also homered for the Red Sox, who won for the 10th time in 12 games by banging out 20 hits. They trail the Yankees by a half-game for first place in the AL East.
"Obviously it's good. Takes a lot of pressure off of not only me, but the defense," Lester said about working with a big lead. "You don't have to be perfect."
The Red Sox turned in their big day at the plate despite both J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis missing the game. Drew is nursing a right hamstring strain and isn't expected to play today either, while Youkilis could return after being a late scratch because of a sore left hand.
Boston will send Alfredo Aceves to the hill this afternoon for his second start of the season and seventh of his career.
Stepping in for an injured Daisuke Matsuzaka last Saturday versus the Cubs, Aceves gave up a run on three hits and two walks over five innings of a no- decision in his first start since July 9, 2009. He is 1-0 with a 2.42 earned run average in 12 games this season.
The 29-year-old righty is 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA in his career as a starter and owns a career record of 15-1 in 71 games. Aceves has won his last 11 decisions -- all in relief -- dating back to June 7, 2009, the longest active streak in the majors.
He has faced the Tigers just once before, giving up a run over an inning of relief.
Right-hander Max Scherzer will try to bounce back from his first loss of 2011 when he makes the start for the Tigers.
After winning his first six decisions of the season, Scherzer was charged with three runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in Pittsburgh on Saturday, striking out seven without a walk. His ERA through 10 starts this year sits at 2.98.
"I wish I would've executed better," Scherzer told Detroit's website.
The 26-year-old stands a good chance of rebounding today given that he is 3-0 with a 0.77 ERA in five starts at home this year, yielding three earned runs over 35 innings.
Scherzer has faced Boston twice in his career, going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA.
Detroit was aiming for a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay on Wednesday, but only made it through 2 1/2 innings of the finale before the game was postponed due to rain. It marked the third time in 11 days the Tigers have been rained out at Comerica Park.
The Tigers have won three straight following a five-game skid and continue today what is now a nine-game homestand that also includes a visit from the Twins next week. They trail the Indians by 5 1/2 games for first place in the AL Central.
The Red Sox swept a two-game home set from the Tigers last week and have won 15 of the past 20 games in this series.