The Red Sox have won seven of their last eight games and have 33 extra-base hits -- tops among all big league teams -- in that span. Boston flexed its muscles with four homers and three doubles in the series opener against Oakland, and David Ortiz finished a monster April with two home runs.
"We're getting hits when we need them, we're pitching well, we're playing defense," said Cody Ross of Boston's recent surge. "We did it for a few games here against the Rays and kind of hit that little skid and then went on the road and did all the little things. That's the key, I think -- especially for a team like us. We know that we'll be able to score runs, but we've got to do the little things right."
The A's, meanwhile, have reason to be excited about Parker, the ninth overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Parker, acquired from Arizona in an offseason trade for Trevor Cahill, will be making his second start of the season and the third of his big league career.
Last week, Parker pitched into the seventh inning against the White Sox and allowed just one earned run en route to a no-decision. Parker struck out five batters and walked one in that outing.
"You look at the stuff, and there's a big reason why we traded who we traded for him," said A's manager Bob Melvin of Parker. "We feel like he's well on his way."
The Red Sox feel the same thing about Doubront, and they've won three of his four starts this season. The left-hander went six innings and allowed three earned runs against Chicago in his last outing. Doubront, 24, has completed at least five innings in all four of his starts.
"Hitting is contagious. I think pitching is contagious," said Ross. "You see one starter go out and have a good game and you see the next guy wants to come out and follow him. The bullpen is the same way. You see a guy come in and get some big outs, the next guy wants to do the same."
A's: Melvin expects to see former player Tuesday
The A's will likely see Ryan Sweeney make his first start against them on Tuesday, and Melvin was pleased to see that the outfielder has gotten off to a hot start with Boston. Sweeney, acquired from Oakland in an offseason trade, is batting .373 through his first 19 games with the Red Sox.
"I know after last season, which was very difficult for him, that he refocused," said Melvin. "He spent the whole offseason working very hard on what I would think would be a comeback season for him. He's a terrific outfielder at every position and a line-drive hitter that probably plays very well in this ballpark. I'm glad he's off to a good start. He can slow down during this series, though."
Red Sox: Papi turns in torrid April
Ortiz batted .405 in April, and he'll go into Tuesday's game against Oakland batting .543 (19-for-35) at Fenway Park this season. The designated hitter delivered the 38th multihomer game of his career in the series opener, and he's managed to reach base safely in 20 of his 22 games this year.
Kevin Youkilis missed his second straight game due to back tightness on Monday. ... Ortiz is one multihomer game behind Hall of Famer Ted Williams (37) for the most in Boston's franchise history. ... Oakland made two errors on Monday and has made 10 miscues in its last eight games.