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Red Sox tangle with Braves series opener

May 18, 2007 - 1:43 PM Atlanta (25-16) at Boston (28-12) 7:05 pm EDT

BOSTON (Ticker) - The Boston Red Sox host the Atlanta Braves in the opener of a three-game interleague series Friday.

After beating American League champion Detroit in three of four games, the Red Sox have opened a 9 1/2-game lead in the AL East.

Devern Hansack (0-0, 13.50 ERA) takes the ball for the Red Sox in place of injured starter Josh Beckett, who went on the disable list with a torn flap of skin on his middle finger.

In his only appearance this season out of the bullpen, Hansack gave up one run in Boston's 9-2 win at the Toronto Blue Jays on May 8.

Atlanta's Anthony Lerew (0-1, 6.52) will try to shake off his last outing as he was tagged for five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Braves have posted the sixth-best mark at 91-75 since interleague play started in 1997. However, the Red Sox went a 16-2 last season, including a three-game sweep at Atlanta.

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