(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Red Sox go after their eighth straight win on Monday when they kick off a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
The Red Sox had dropped 10 in a row and found themselves nine games under .500 following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, which included a bases clearing incident between the two teams in the finale.
Perhaps the fracas lit a fire under the defending world champions because the team has not lost since and they returned the favor to the Rays this past weekend, as Boston swept a three-game series from Tampa, outscoring it 14-3 in the process.
And, of course, another ugly benches clearing incident marred the opener of that set. Regardless, with their 4-0 win on Sunday, the Red Sox matched the 1942 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1989 Detroit Tigers for most consecutive victories following a double-digit losing streak.
One day after smacking his first big league home run Brock Holt hit four doubles on Sunday, while Garin Cecchini and Alex Hassan each registered their first major league hits.
"We're tapping into organization depth and guys are ready to contribute," manager John Farrell said. "It is a special day. I don't know the last time two Red Sox players have gotten their first major league hits in a game."
Now the Red Sox will turn to righty John Lackey, who is 4-1 over his last seven starts. Lackey beat the Atlanta Braves last Wednesday, as he scattered eight hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to run his record to 6-3, while lowering his ERA to 3.27.
Lackey has faced the Indians 17 times and is 7-7 with a 3.98 ERA.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Justin Masterson, who has lost his last three decisions. Masterson absorbed a tough loss on Tuesday, as he allowed one run and four hits, but had his outing cut short after three innings because of a lengthy rain delay. He is 2-4 on the year with a 5.21 ERA.
Masterson, who pitched the first year and a half of his big league career with the Red Sox, has lost three straight starts to his former team and has pitched to a 7.94 ERA in those outings.
Cleveland also comes into this series riding high after sweeping the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Sunday's triumph came in dramatic fashion, as Michael Bourn's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning propelled the Tribe to a 6-4 win.
Scott Atchison (2-0) struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning for the Indians, who last swept Colorado at home from June 14-16, 2005.
Adam Ottavino (0-2) got the nod in the bottom of the ninth and served up a leadoff single to Mike Aviles, who moved into scoring position on George Kottaras' sacrifice bunt. Bourn followed with his first career walk-off home run.
"Not only my first career walk-off home run, but we were able to complete the sweep," said Bourn. "Builds momentum within the team."
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings, while Michael Brantley finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Bourn scored twice.
Boston won six of its seven matchups with the Indians last season and has won four in a row in Cleveland.