at Red Sox
What's new: Since trudging out of the Trop on Sunday after losing their 10th straight, the Sox found some life in Atlanta. They beat the Braves twice there and then again Wednesday in Boston, going into play Thursday on a season-high three-game winning streak. The Wednesday shutout of the Braves was Boston's first of the season, and the offense has perked up, averaging six runs a game during the streak. Already missing starting LHP Felix Doubront, the Sox added RHP Clay Buchholz (left knee) to the DL, recalling reliever Alex Wilson.
Key stat: Sox batters went into Thursday leading the majors in reaching base 300 times on two-strike counts, and leading the AL with 185 two-strike hits.
Connections: Red Sox OF Jonny Gomes and RHP Burke Badenhop are former Rays, 3B coach Brian Butterfield a former Eckerd College assistant; Rays 1B James Loney and LHP Erik Bedard were briefly Red Sox.
Series history: Rays lead 5-1 this season; Sox lead 163-121 overall, and 89-53 at Fenway.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer