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Red Sox Try To Keep Faint Playoff Hopes Alive With Fifth Straight Win

(Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive this evening when they start a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Boston enters tonight's matchup riding a four-game winning streak after completing a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. However, their postseason hopes seem to be slipping away, as they still trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 6 1/2 games in the American League East and sit six games back of the New York Yankees in the wild card chase.

The Red Sox, though, finish their season with a three-game set at home against the Yankees.

On Wednesday, Clay Buchholz worked seven crisp innings and Victor Martinez drove in a pair of runs to lead Boston past Seattle, 5-1. Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 and scored twice, while Ryan Kalish was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI for Boston, which took five of seven at Safeco Field this season.

Buchholz (16-7) yielded a lone run on four hits while walking three and fanning six for the Red Sox, who have won six of nine.

"I felt like I had some good life on the fastball and my curveball was better than it has been all season," Buchholz said. "After my last start, I wanted to come out here and throw as many innings as I could and have sort of a bounce back game. That's all I wanted to do."

Getting the call tonight for the Red Sox will be righty John Lackey, who has lost his last three starts. Lackey absorbed the loss on Saturday in Oakland, as he allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, dropping him to 12-10 on the year to go along with a 4.45 ERA.

This is the first time he has lost three straight since Aug. 4-14, 2006, with the Angels. The only time he ever dropped four consecutive decisions came during a five-start span in 2004.

Lackey did not get a decision the last time he faced the Jays, and is 4-4 in 14 starts against them with a 4.21 ERA.

Toronto, meanwhile, stumbles into tonight's opener after losing all three games of its series to the Baltimore Orioles, who finished off the sweep with a 3-1 win on Wednesday at Camden Yards.

Jose Bautista, though, hit his major league-leading 47th home run in the loss, tying the Blue Jays club record for a single season set in 1987 by George Bell.

Toronto has now dropped seven of its last eight.

Tonight, the Jays turn to lefty Brett Cecil, who is 12-7 with a 4.12 ERA. Cecil was awful on Friday against Tampa Bay, but did not get a decision despite allowing seven runs and eight hits in just two innings of his team's 9-8 loss.

Cecil beat the Red Sox back on August 20 and is 1-3 lifetime against them with a 6.23 ERA in four starts.

Boston has won 11 of its 15 meetings with the Jays this season, including wins in four of the six matchups at Fenway.