After taking two of three from their rivals last weekend, the New York Yankees aren't resting on their laurels.
They know the tough task ahead of them in their rematch with the Red Sox in Boston for a four-game set beginning Thursday. Before their last series, New York began the season 0-7 against its storied counterpart, and the Yankees are still seven games back of the Red Sox in the American League East.
"It's no secret who our biggest rivals are and where we're at in the standings," said New York outfielder Brett Gardner. "We have a very important week of baseball coming up this next road trip. I feel like we've obviously played better against them here recently right after the break. We're looking forward to that matchup this weekend. It's always a fun place to play."
The Yankees enter on a four-game winning streak, including a 6-5 walk-off victory in the 10th inning Wednesday night that completed a two-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Red Sox are coming off back-to-back wins over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-5, 4.18 ERA) is set to take the mound for New York to start the series. Right-hander Tanner Houck (0-2, 3.38) will go for Boston in his first major league start since April.
Held to one run in each of their two losses to the Yankees last weekend, the Red Sox exploded for 20 in their visit with the Blue Jays. Boston's offense slugged six home runs during a 13-4 rout Monday before following a rainout with five homers in a 7-4 triumph Wednesday.
Enrique Hernandez had three of the blasts, while Hunter Renfroe and Rafael Devers each slugged two.
"I don't have a secret," said Hernandez, who has gone deep six times this month to raise his season total to 14. "I'm just trying to get good at-bats, make good decisions at the pitches that I want to swing at. And it's going well for me right now. I'm just going to try and do my job."
Ryan LaMarre did his job for New York on Wednesday, singling home the winning run on the first pitch he saw after Gleyber Torres laid down a sacrifice bunt to begin the 10th. The Yankees had blown a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning.
Montgomery took the lone loss in the series against the Red Sox last week, allowing three runs on three hits over six innings in a 4-0 defeat. The southpaw is 0-4 in seven starts since June 2.
Montgomery is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in eight career starts versus Boston.
Houck made his first major league appearance since April 18 with a three-inning save at New York's expense in that 4-0 win. He allowed just one hit and one walk and struck out three.
Houck's only start against the Yankees came as a rookie last year, when he gave up just one unearned run over six innings in a victory.
After this weekend's series, the Red Sox remain home for four against the Blue Jays. The Yankees visit the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins for three apiece.
--Field Level Media