(SportsNetwork.com) - Having just snapped their longest losing streak in 20 years, the Boston Red Sox will try to make it two in a row Tuesday night when they resume their home-and-away series with the Atlanta Braves.
The teams will finish off a two-game set at Turner Field Tuesday night, then head to Fenway Park for two more on Wednesday and Thursday. Boston picked up a much-needed 8-6 victory on Monday to snap a 10-game slide, its longest since an 11-game skid from June 8-19, 1994.
David Ortiz did most of the heavy lifting with a three-run homer that tied the game in the fifth inning, then a sacrifice fly in the seventh to put the Red Sox in front. Dustin Pedroia, who had been struggling along with Ortiz, also drove in a pair of runs and finished 1-for-3.
"In 10 games prior to today, there's one RBI combined (from Pedroia and Ortiz)," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Today there is six between the two. I think the outcome is directly correlated to their performance. That's not to put it all on them because we had a lot of good at-bats all the way up and down the lineup today. But them being in the middle of the lineup, their contributions are key for us."
The Red Sox used seven different pitchers to get the job done as starter Clay Buchholz was pulled after only three innings as he allowed six runs and a staggering eight walks. Braves starter Ervin Santana went five innings and was also charged with six runs.
"We know we still have the core of a winning team here and we're going to win," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said before Monday's win. "But we've got to get there. We've got to focus on today and just try to start playing a little bit better first."
Atlanta has split its last six games overall and currently owns a two-game lead over Miami in the National League East.
The Braves will send veteran Aaron Harang to the mound for Tuesday's game. Harang began the year with a 0.85 ERA through five starts, but he has gone 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA over his last five. He faced Milwaukee last week and gave up four earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings for a no-decision. It was only the second time in his last 10 starts that Harang gave up more than two earned runs.
Boston will counter with ace Jon Lester, who has yielded three earned runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts. Like Harang, Lester is coming off a subpar outing as he gave up a season-high seven runs over the first two innings against Toronto.
"I don't think we're excelling in any one area, but I do think we have players capable of excelling and some of that is going to happen naturally," said Cherington. "There are other things that maybe you can do at some point to try to make the whole thing a lot better.
"What we believed this offseason, what we believed in Spring Training, in terms of potential of this team, the position we're in with people in the clubhouse, the depth of the talent -- that hasn't changed. We just have to perform. We have to find ways to perform better, and that's going to come in a number of ways."
Boston has won 15 of the last 20 meetings in the head-to-head series.