A pair of clubs fighting for division leads will square off in an Interleague showdown on Friday night, when the D-backs open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The D-backs, making their first trip to Boston since 2010, are trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the National League West. The Red Sox are a game ahead of the Rays in the American League East, on the strength of their 37-20 home record. The D-backs are 25-29 on the road.
"We know we'll have a tough series," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "I've played quite a few games at Fenway Park myself. It's kind of exciting, but at the same time, you've got to be able to dig in and have staying power. The games can be pretty exhausting."
The Red Sox finished July with a 15-10 record and began August with dramatic comeback victory on Thursday, scoring six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Mariners, 8-7. That gave them a sweep of the three-game series and their fifth win in six games.
On Friday, Boston will send Jon Lester to the mound against the D-backs' Randall Delgado. Lester (10-6, 4.27 ERA) has righted himself of late, following a 10-start stretch that saw him post a 6.49 ERA. The left-hander has notched three consecutive quality starts and has struck out eight in each of his last two outings.
On Sunday, Lester tossed seven scoreless innings at Baltimore, giving up four hits and two walks. It was his first game without a run allowed since May 10, and his third this season.
"A Jon Lester pitching to his capabilities is going to be one of the better pitchers in the league," manager John Farrell said afterward. "He's shown it the last couple of times out. Again, I think he's getting a better understanding of the overall pitch mix, how to be most effective. His changeup continues to be a very good weapon for him, and he was efficient once again today."
The D-backs fell to the Rangers in a makeup contest on Thursday night in Texas, their fourth loss in five games.
Arizona will turn to Delgado (3-3, 2.85) to stop their slide. The 23-year-old righty will be making his ninth start of the season. He has a 2.27 ERA over his past six outings, including 14 2/3 scoreless innings over his past two.
Delgado authored his first career complete game and shutout last Friday, holding the Padres to three hits and a walk. He struck out three and used only 100 pitches, leading catcher Wil Nieves to say Delgado was learning to be more aggressive, leaning on his fastball and changeup.
"His confidence is building," Gibson said. "He's starting to trust his stuff and understand how to use it. He feels good about himself, he's a strong kid, he's healthy, he's very athletic."
D-backs: Montero to DL
The D-backs placed catcher Miguel Montero on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, in a move retroactive to Monday. Montero had been fighting a lower back strain that had been nagging him for about a week, Gibson said.
An MRI taken last week showed a bulging disk in Montero's back, and the veteran will see a back specialist in Arizona on Friday, according to general manager Kevin Towers.
With Montero out, the D-backs called up Tuffy Gosewisch from Triple-A Reno and put him in the lineup on Thursday for his Major League debut. The 29-year-old, who was hitting .285 with six home runs in 66 games for Reno, went 1-for-3.
Arizona also has the veteran Nieves as an option behind the plate.
Red Sox: Peavy excited to join playoff chase
Veteran pitcher Jake Peavy, whom the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox before Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, was introduced to the Boston media on Thursday afternoon. Peavy will make his debut with his new club on Saturday night.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more, to come to a team who is now in first place with a realistic chance this year of being a world champion, which is why we all play the game," Peavy said. "To have a chance to compete in the postseason. It would be a dream come true. That's something I know a lot of other guys expect, and I expect to do it and be a contributing factor here going forward."
• Veteran reliever Brandon Lyon opted out of his contract and was granted his release from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. Boston signed Lyon to a Minor League deal after he was released by the Mets, but he appeared in only four games for Pawtucket.
• The Red Sox are 7-5 all-time against the D-backs, including 5-4 at home. They have won five straight in the series, including a three-game sweep at Fenway Park in June 2010.
• Delgado's only previous start at Fenway came with the Braves last June 23, when he was tagged for four runs on six hits in only 1 1/3 innings.
• D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill is 2-for-32 (.063) against Lester, with a double, four walks and nine strikeouts.