Middlebrooks sits as Sox face Tigers in series finale

Middlebrooks sits as Sox face Tigers in series finale
May 31, 2012, 7:43 pm
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BOSTON -- Tonight it's Will Middlebrooks' turn to sit as the Red Sox look to complete a four-game sweep of the Tigers:

Daniel Nava LF
Ryan Sweeney RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Mike Aviles SS
Scott Podsednik CF
Nick Punto 2B

Josh Beckett P

Some notes from the Red Sox:

HIGH WATER MARK: With a 6-4 win over the Tigers Wednesday night, their third straight victory, the Red Sox improved to 26-24 and are a season-high two games over .500 . . . The Sox surpassed the .500 mark for the first time this year after Tuesday nights win . . . It had been the longest the club had gone at the beginning of a season without going over .500 since the 1996 squad crossed that mark for the first time on Aug. 25 (66-65).

IN THE STANDINGS: The Sox are in fifth place in the A.L. East, 2 12 games behind the division-leading Orioles and Rays, their smallest deficit since also being 2 12 back after play on April 28 . . . This is the latest into a calendar year that Boston has stood in last place since September of 1997 . . . With a win tonight, the Sox will move into a tie for fourth place with Toronto, which is off tonight and is 27-24, and will be within two games of first place in the division for the first time since the end of play on April 16.

PAPI THROUGH 50: With a 2-for-4 effort last night, including a two-run homer, David Ortiz brought his season hit total to a team-best 61, tied for sixth-most in the A.L. . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 61 hits ties the most he has ever had in his first 50 games of a season. He also had 61 hits in his first 50 games in 2007, en route to a career-high 182 hits . . . Ortiz is tied with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and the Reds' Joey Votto for the Major League lead with 30 extra-base hits.

10-SPOT FOR GONZO: Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in a season-high 10 straight games dating back to May 20, the second-longest active stretch in the Majors (Miami's Jose Reyes has hit in 11 straight) . . . Gonzalez is batting .300 (12-for-40) with 4 doubles, 1 homer, 6 RBI and 6 runs over the 10-game span.