Red Sox fans can breathe a little bit easier this morning.
Josh Beckett was solid in his return from a sprained ankle last night, allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings as the Red Sox defeated the Rays 4-3 to extend their lead in the AL Wild Card race to four games with 12 games remaining.
Beckett, who hadn’t pitched since September 5, threw the first quality start by a Red Sox pitcher since September 6. Mike Aviles, who played third base in place of the injured Kevin Youkilis, hit the decisive go-ahead solo homer off James Shields in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Rays stole a season-high seven bases in the loss.
The two teams will continue their four-game series later this afternoon when Jon Lester takes on Jeff Niemann.
Your Friday box scores:
Rays 3, Red Sox 4
Cardinals 4, Phillies 2 (11 innings)
Mets 12, Braves 2
Angels 3, Orioles 8
Astros 3, Cubs 4 (12 innings)
Marlins 3, Nationals 0
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 5
Brewers 6, Reds 3
White Sox 6, Royals 7
Indians 7, Twins 6
Tigers 3, Athletics 1
Giants 9, Rockies 1
Diamondbacks 0, Padres 2
Rangers 0, Mariners 4
Pirates 2, Dodgers 7
The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three-game home series against the Astros, winning 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they ended the Astros’ 10-game winning streak.
Xander Bogaerts struck the decisive blow, knocking in a run with a double in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Michael Chavis also hit another homer — his eighth of the season — while Mookie Betts collected three hits and scored three runs to raise his OPS to .899.
The Astros last lost on May 7 against the Royals, the second game of a three-game series. The Astros won the final game of that set, then swept the Rangers in a four-game series, the Tigers in three, and won the first two games against the Red Sox. It’s their second 10-game winning streak of the season, as they won 10 striaght between April 5-16, sweeping the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners before losing the second of two games against the A’s in Oakland.
At 31-16, the Astros are slightly behind the Twins — in progress as of this writing — for the best winning percentage in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have made up some ground after ending April 13-17. They’re now 24-22, good for third place in the AL East.