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Rodriguez seeks 4th straight win as Red Sox host M's

BOSTON -- Eduardo Rodriguez no longer is the other left-hander in Boston's rotation.

Rodriguez, who has battled injuries throughout his early career, is quietly off to an outstanding start -- in a Red Sox rotation where fellow lefties Chris Sale (great), David Price (hurt, making his first start of the season on Monday night) and Drew Pomeranz (struggling before a strong outing Thursday) have received much of the attention.

Rodriguez (3-1, 3.10 ERA) takes a string of six consecutive quality starts to the mound when he faces Yovani Gallardo and the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night at Fenway Park.

All eight starts of Rodriguez's starts have coming after Red Sox losses. The team is 6-2 in those eight games, and Rodriguez is riding a three-decision winning streak.

"I just go out there and pitch," he said after winning in Oakland on Sunday, when he threw eight innings of three-run ball. "Even if we had won 10, 11 in a row, I am just going to try and win the game. I just go out there and do my job."

This time, though, Rodriguez will be pitching after a win. The Red Sox (25-21) completed a sweep of their three-game series with the Texas Rangers with a 6-2 victory Thursday night. Boston has won four in a row, racking up 38 runs in that span.

Red Sox pitchers tied the major league record for a nine-inning game by striking out 20 on Thursday, including four in the ninth inning by closer Craig Kimbrel.

"His stuff is nasty," fellow reliever Matt Barnes said of Kimbrel. "What he is doing right now ... I have never seen anything like that."

Kimbrel has retired 53 of the last 56 batters he has faced, including 33 of his last 34. He has yet to allow a hit to a right-handed batter this season.

Like Rodriguez, Gallardo was doing his job, and he took a two-game winning streak into his last start. However, he was strafed for nine hits, including two home runs, and 10 runs -- nine earned -- in just 3 2/3 innings of a 16-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Gallardo (2-4, 5.84 ERA) is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, who reached him for eight runs in 10 innings in two starts with the Baltimore Orioles last season.

Rodriguez is making just his second career start against the Mariners. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and a run (no walk, six strikeouts) last Aug. 1.

The injury-riddled and last-place Mariners (21-27) ended a five-game losing streak -- during which they scored one run in each game -- with a 4-2 win at Washington on Thursday. Nelson Cruz's three-run homer and Robinson Cano's RBI single provided the offense.

"That's what Nelson Cruz does for our team," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "I think from a leadership standpoint, him and Robbie, those are the veteran guys. ... That's what you need, your veteran players to drive the train."

Servais was ejected with his team down 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, and his players responded, giving the Mariners their first win in nine games in Washington.

"Our guys joke about it, I think we're 2-0 when I get kicked out of games now, so they'd like to see it probably happen more," the manager said. "It's the intensity of the game."

Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-18 (.389) against Gallardo, while both Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are 4-for-12 (.333). Chris Young is just 2-for-18 (.167).

The current Mariners are a combined 3-for-20 against Rodriguez, with Cano collecting two hits in three at-bats. Danny Valencia is 0-for-6 against the lefty.