While the Boston Red Sox remain hot, apparently so do the collective tempers between them and the Tampa Bay Rays.
As the Red Sox look to extend their season-high winning streak to six, it’s uncertain if both clubs will be able to keep their emotions in check Saturday night at Fenway Park.
A.J. Pierzynski tripled home a run in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday as Boston (25-29) continued its roll following a 10-game slide with a 3-2 victory. The Red Sox’s most recent defeat came Sunday at Tampa, during which a bench-clearing tussle resulted in the ejections of Boston’s Jonny Gomes and the Rays’ Yunel Escobar and Sean Rodriguez.
The fireworks continued Friday, when Tampa Bay starter David Price hit David Ortiz in the hip in the first inning. That led to warnings for both sides and the ejection of Red Sox manager John Farrell, who came out to argue. Two other acting Boston managers were later ejected.
Price plunked Mike Carp in the fourth, leading to players rushing from both dugouts, but no punches were thrown. Boston retaliated in the sixth when Brandon Workman threw a high pitch behind Evan Longoria, who then jawed with Pierzynski.
“It’s always going to be felt from the perspective of the sides,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m going to defend the Rays and they’re going to defend the Red Sox.”
In the end, the Red Sox continue to surge while Tampa Bay (23-32) dropped a fourth straight for the fourth time this season.
Pierzynski has batted .400 (16 for 40) with six RBIs in his last nine games.
Teammate Xander Bogaerts has recorded three straight three-hit contests and has batted .452 in his last seven games. He’s 7 for 14 with three RBIs in the last three against Tampa Bay.
Taking the place of the injured Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa makes his first start for Boston in his season debut. Acquired in the blockbuster 2012 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 appearances for the Red Sox in 2013.
De La Rosa, who hasn’t started since going 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts for the Dodgers in 2011, was 2-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this year.
He gave up a run and two hits in one-third of an inning to take the loss in Boston’s 4-3 defeat Sept. 12, his only appearance against the Rays.
Jake Odorizzi (2-4, 4.56 ERA) went 0-3 with an 8.72 ERA during a four-start stretch from April 9-May 3, but he’s gone 1-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his last four. The right-hander allowed a run in six innings but didn’t get the decision in the 8-5 victory over Boston on Sunday.
He’s yielded two runs in 11 2-3 innings over two starts without a decision against the Red Sox.
David DeJesus had half of the four hits Friday for the Rays, who have suffered a pair of four-game skids wrapped around a four-game winning streak in the last 12 contests.
DeJesus has gone 6 for 17 (.353) with three RBIs and four runs in his last five games against Boston.
• The Rays come into this series with a five-game win streak against the Red Sox, which is tied for their longest active streak against any team (also five vs. Marlins). In the history of the franchise, Tampa Bay’s longest win streak against Boston was a six-gamer in 2011.
• The Red Sox have won four consecutive games—their longest win streak of the season. They also have recorded at least 12 hits in three straight games for the first time this season.
• The Rays have lost five consecutive road games for the first time since a six-game road losing streak August 21—September 2, 2013.
• Evan Longoria has hit 21 home runs over his career against the Red Sox. The rest of the Rays’ active roster has combined to hit 29 home runs against Boston over their careers.
• Over five starts away from home this season, David Price has struck out 44 hitters while walking just two. Price has not walked a single batter over his last three road starts.
• While David Ortiz has driven in more runs against the Rays (146) than any player in history, only one player (Alex Rodriguez 47) has more home runs against Tampa Bay than Ortiz (43).