When the Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park for Wednesday night's matchup against the Mariners, they'll have a high-profile new teammate. Boston, a half-game behind Tampa Bay in the American League East, acquired White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy late Tuesday night in a three-team, seven-player trade.
While Peavy won't be the mound Wednesday, the Red Sox will have a chance to secure a series victory after an 8-2 win in Tuesday's opener. They had entered the day 5-7 over their past 12 games, losing a 4 1/2-game division lead in the process.
The Mariners, despite winning 10 of 14, are possible sellers before the Deadline. They will send Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound against Boston's John Lackey as they aim to even the three-game set.
Iwakuma has experienced few bumps in the road, and perhaps the biggest came against the Red Sox on July 9 in Seattle. He lasted only three innings, giving up six runs on eight hits.
Iwakuma served up three homers in that contest, the last in a rough four-start stretch that included 10 round-trippers. He allowed another homer on July 14, but none in his past two outings, as his splitter has regained its early-season effectiveness.
"I think his ball was up during those times," said acting manager Robby Thompson. "He's human and he went through a spurt most guys go through, whether it's offensively, defensively or pitching. He went through that. But when he keeps the ball down, he locates. I think he's going to be fine."
Iwakuma struck out nine over six scoreless innings against the Twins on Thursday, winning his third consecutive outing.
"I gave up a few home runs the previous couple starts, but my last two starts I've been pretty good at keeping the ball down," he said through translator Antony Suzuki. "When the ball is down, I have more movement, so I'm trying to take advantage of that."
Lackey also has enjoyed a strong season, but has struggled in consecutive losses. The opposition has reached the veteran righty for nine runs on 19 hits over 12 2/3 innings.
"I felt OK," Lackey said after Friday's start at Baltimore. "They kind of took advantage of a couple of things. Ballpark got me a little bit, a couple of times."
Mariners: Wedge hands-off in absence
Manager Eric Wedge remains back in Seattle as he recovers from a minor stroke that has sidelined him for the past seven games. Wedge did address the team before Sunday's home win over the Twins, letting the players know that he is doing OK.
Thompson said Wedge is letting him run things without getting too involved from afar.
"He's busy doing his thing and he knows we're busy here," Thompson said. "It's the, 'I don't want to bother you and he doesn't want to bother me,' type of thing. But we talked [Monday] before getting on the flight. Each and every day he's got things he needs to get done with doctors and all that. It's important for him to get his health back to 100 percent, and hopefully that will be sooner than later."
Red Sox: Pedroia breaks out
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia came into Tuesday's game mired in a rare slump. He was 3-for-39 since the All-Star break, and was hitless in his past 15 at-bats.
Pedroia busted through in the second inning, when he smacked a two-run homer, driving a pitch from Mariners lefty Joe Saunders over the Green Monster. He finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
"Yeah, it was good," said Pedroia. "Just keep plugging away. You go through streaks where you don't hit the ball well or hit the ball at people, so you know you've got to just keep going."
• The Red Sox have taken four of five from the Mariners this season.
• The Mariners are 15-9 in July. The club hasn't won 16 games in a month since going 18-9 in June 2007.
• Seattle's Raul Ibanez is 22-for-57 (.386) in his career against Lackey, with five doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.