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BOS@CLE: Doubront strikes out seven over five innings

The Red Sox will look to continue their torrid start when they face the Astros on Saturday at Fenway Park.

Boston is riding a three-game winning streak, has won 11 of its last 14 and sits atop of the American League East division with a 16-7 record.

"I think in every phase of the game we've been able to do some things well and we've been very consistent when you look at what we've been able to do from the mound and certainly defensively," manager John Farrell said. "We felt going into Spring Training that we had a very good team, one that we believed internally could contend and compete for a division title, and that was stated on Day 1 of Spring Training. We haven't adjusted our goal."

The Red Sox will send left-hander Felix Doubront to the mound hoping to continue his recent success.

Doubront had his best start of the season his last time out, against the A's, giving up three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings on three hits, five walks, and eight strikeouts.

"I feel good. I was throwing the ball real good. My arm feels a lot easier throwing the ball," said the 25-year-old after his last outing.

The Astros will send righty Brad Peacock to the mound, as they look for their first victory at Fenway in club history.

Peacock struggled in his last start against Seattle, surrendering seven runs and nine hits, and failed to make it through the fifth inning for the third time in four starts.

"I didn't have it tonight," said Peacock after his most recent outing. "I didn't have my stuff and was getting behind in counts, and I have no excuses. Just gotta keep working."

As he struggles, manager Bo Porter knows exactly what he'd like to see from his young starter against the Red Sox.

"The biggest thing for me with Peacock is I want to see him be more efficient with his stuff," Porter said. "I've had conversations with him, and I've told him, 'You've got good enough stuff to pitch in the strike zone and start now allowing yourself to get all these deep counts and force hitters to put the ball in play early in the count and see what happens.'"

For the Astros, the biggest challenge may come from playing a team that's oozing confidence.

"Guys look forward to coming to the ballpark -- not because of what the game might hold in store that night, but guys genuinely like being around each other here and working alongside one another," Farrell said.

Red Sox: Ortiz off to a hot start

• David Ortiz is on tear since returning to the lineup after suffering from inflammation in both of his heals. He's gone 12-for-24 in his first six starts, including two home runs and six RBIs.

"I've been working just to stay short and quick to the ball and not try to do too much. I always tell you guys, I'm old enough to know what it takes for me to be what I want to be, and that's pretty much it," Ortiz said.

• The Sox have been in first place or tied for first place atop the AL East since the start of the year (27 days), which is the longest stretch that a Red Sox team has ever been in first to begin a season.

• Red Sox pitching tops the Majors in strikeouts with 232, including 25 against Houston the last two nights.

Astros: Starting pitching struggling to go deep in games

• Only three times in the past 11 games has an Astros starting pitcher gone at least five innings.

• The Astros have 25 home runs in 23 games. Houston had an eight-game home run streak prior to Thursday's contest, but has now gone homerless in two straight. That streak was its longest such run since an eight-game stretch between June 12-20, 2009.

• Despite being in their 52nd season, this marks only the second series the Astros have played at Fenway Park. They have yet to record a victory, being swept in their only other series on June 13-15, 2003.

Worth noting

• The Red Sox have won nine of 11 games against the Astros all-time in Interleague action, including their last five matchups dating back to a three-game sweep in Houston in 2011.

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