By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON It wasnt the lights-out performance he threw at the Rays in his two previous starts this season, but it was enough. And it was just what the sputtering Red Sox needed as they beat the Rays, 4-3, at Fenway Park.
Josh Beckett went just six innings compared to 17 total in his previous two outings and gave up more hits in the first inning than he had in those two outings combined, but he held the Rays to three runs, two earned on seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Mike Aviles' two-out solo homer in the fourth hitting the middle of the O in the Sports Authority sign above the Green Monster like a bulls-eye gave the Sox the lead. It was Aviles first home run with the Sox since joining them at the trading deadline.
Daniel Bard returned to his formerly solid form in the eighth inning. He faced four batters, striking out three, walking one.
Jonathan Papelbon earned his 30th save in his first opportunity since Aug. 18.
James Shields took the loss for the Rays, going seven innings (plus one batter in the eighth) giving up four runs on seven hits, three walks, two wild pitches, and a home run with four strikeouts.
The win restores the Sox lead over the Rays in American League wild card race to four games.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen
Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.
Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday.
Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.
The full lineups:
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C
Yovanni Gallardo RHP
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP
BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox.
Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.
“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”
Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.
“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”
The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”
Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.
“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”
© 2017 by The Associated Press.