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Major League Baseball
Preview
Baltimore at Boston
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, April 18, 2014
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Red Sox salvaged their road trip by taking the final two games from the Chicago White Sox and now have to figure out how to carry that momentum back home. The Red Sox will kick off a seven-game homestand by hosting the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. The Orioles swept a rain-shortened two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays this week and have won six of their last nine games to pull back to .500 at 7-7.

Boston took two of three in Baltimore to begin the 2014 campaign but dropped four of their next six - all at home - and have been climbing out of the hole ever since. The Red Sox were having some trouble coming up with hits in key situations but solved that problem to an extent the last two nights in Chicago, pulling out a 6-4 win in 14 innings Wednesday and getting two runs in the eighth to earn a 3-1 victory Thursday. The Orioles took awhile to get their bats going as well but scratched out enough against the Rays to give some strong pitching plenty of cushion.

TV:
7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore) NESN Plus (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Chris Tillman (1-1, 0.84 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH John Lackey (2-1, 3.86)

Tillman held Boston to one run on seven hits in five innings during a no-decision on Opening Day and has only gotten better since, yielding a total of one earned run in 16 1/3 innings over his last two turns. The 26-year-old was the tough-luck loser last time out, when he surrendered a pair of unearned runs over eight innings of a 2-0 loss to Toronto. Tillman has always been strong against the Red Sox and owns a 4-2 record with a 2.67 ERA against them in his career.

Lackey allowed a career-high four home runs while being lit up for six runs on 10 hits by the New York Yankees last weekend. The veteran had yielded two earned runs combined in his first two starts, with both of those coming in a six-inning stint at Baltimore on April 2 that earned him a win. Lackey is 14-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 career starts against the Orioles but has had trouble retiring Chris Davis (11-for-32 with two home runs) in the past.

WALK-OFFS

1. Red Sox RF Shane Victorino (hamstring) will begin a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday.

2. Baltimore C Matt Wieters has four hits, three runs scored and three RBIs in his last three games.

3. Boston RHP Koji Uehara (shoulder) returned from a five-game absence and worked a scoreless ninth Thursday.

PREDICTION: Orioles 3, Red Sox 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Baltimore 7-7 W2 4-4 3-3 6-5 1-2 0-0 0-0
Boston 7-9 W2 2-4 5-5 3-4 2-1 2-1 0-3
Last Meeting
Baltimore Boston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/3/14 BOS 4 BAL 3 .257 0 .612 .368 0 .821
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Baltimore M. Wieters .455 5 1.000
Boston X. Bogaerts .556 5 1.333
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Baltimore N. Cruz 2 3 3
Boston M. Napoli 1 1 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Baltimore 3.67 .216 21
Boston 2.42 .303 26
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Baltimore M. Wieters .341 15 .958
Boston M. Napoli .304 17 .900
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Baltimore M. Wieters 3 8 9
Boston M. Napoli 3 7 9
Pitching ERA Avg K
Baltimore 3.93 .260 87
Boston 3.25 .232 139