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Red Sox Host Orioles With A.L. East Lead In Sight

(Sports Network) - Although riddled with injuries the Boston Red Sox will try to remain in the thick of things in the AL East when they take on the Baltimore Orioles in the second test of a three-game stint at Fenway Park.

However, despite being 31 games below .500 the Orioles are coming off a successful homestand in which the team went 5-4 during that span.

Looking to lead the Orioles against the Red Sox will be Jeremy Guthrie, but the right-hander is mired in a terrible slump. Guthrie has gone winless in his last six matchups, five of which were losses.

The last time the Stanford product was on the rubber, he threw six solid innings against Washington, allowing just three runs on three hits and four walks. Baltimore won the matchup 4-3, but Guthrie, who had four strikeouts, did not factor in the decision.

Pitching against Boston has not been easy for the crafty veteran, who is just 1-6 with a 4.52 earned run average in 14 games. However, earlier this season Guthrie surrendered just two runs on five hits against the Red Sox in 7 1/3 innings of duty. Despite the impressive performance, Guthrie was strapped with the loss.

Boston will put the ball in the hand of Jon Lester, who has won seven of his last 10 games, and is coming off a terrific showing against San Francisco. In the recent victory over the Giants, the hard throwing southpaw went the distance, allowing one run, while striking out nine batters.

Lester has been a nightmare for opponents at Fenway, as the Washington native has posted a 5-1 mark and a 2.96 earned run average in eight games.

The 26-year-old has also been a nightmare for Baltimore, and comes into this matchup with an amazing 11-0 ledger in 14 starts against the Orioles. Lester, who has a 2.06 career earned run average against Baltimore, tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings and scattered four hits, while striking out four batters.

On Friday, Daniel Nava's pinch-hit single with two outs in the eighth inning drove in the winning run in Boston's 3-2 comeback victory over the Orioles.

J.D. Drew hit a pair of home runs for the Red Sox, who continued their home domination of Baltimore with their 16th win in the last 18 meetings at Fenway Park.

Tim Wakefield (3-6) tossed eight innings to grab the win in another record- breaking start for Boston, which has won four of its' last five games. The veteran knuckleballer allowed both runs on seven hits while walking one and fanning four in his 201st start at the venerable ballpark, the most by any pitcher in franchise history.

Brad Bergesen (3-5) was the hard luck loser, giving up three runs on five hits over 7 2/3 innings, while striking out seven and not walking a batter for the Orioles, who had entered the game winning five of their last seven.