Beckett goes for Red Sox in opener with Blue Jays

9:27 AM, Jul 20, 2012   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - If the Boston Red Sox are going to make a serious run at the postseason they are going to need Josh Beckett to get himself right.

He gets the call tonight when the Red Sox open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Beckett won for the first time in seven starts on Sunday, as he defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, holding them to three runs and eight hits in six innings. He also struck out seven batters to run his record to 5-7 to go along with a 4.44 ERA.

The right-hander also battled through some dizziness and "borderline blackout periods" on the mound that he attributed to the flu medicine he's been taking.

"I think he just had to get his feet on the ground a little," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "He was struggling with it, battled the whole time, but did one heck of a job putting those goose eggs up."

Beckett is 4-6 in 16 career starts against Toronto.

Boston won for the fifth time in seven games since the All-Star break on Thursday, as Cody Ross crushed a game-winning three-run shot in the ninth inning to lift the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the White Sox in the finale of a four-game set.

Carl Crawford sparked the rally with a leadoff single off reliever Matt Thornton (2-6). After Dustin Pedroia grounded into a fielder's choice, Adrian Gonzalez singled to right and Addison Reed entered from the bullpen.

Ross then launched a 1-1 fastball from Reed over the Green Monster to send the Red Sox to their fourth win in five games.

"It's all about what they feel about themselves," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine of his club's recent play. "We don't have any nicks on our armor. We're a pretty good team."

Alfredo Aceves (1-6) earned the victory for tossing a scoreless ninth in relief of starter Clay Buchholz, who fired eight innings and allowed just six hits and one walk while striking out six.

Toronto, meanwhile, enters this series after getting swept by the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays were outscored 18-4 in the set and lost two more players in the process.

All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista was placed on the disabled list with left wrist inflammation, while Brett Lawrie suffered a right calf contusion after a nasty spill into the camera well.

"Much like the injuries we've sustained in our rotation, we haven't used it as an excuse," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of his club's injuries. "We haven't allowed that to distract us from what our end result is."

Toronto has lost seven of its last eight road games and nine of its last 13.

Getting the call for the Blue Jays tonight will be lefty Aaron Laffey, who is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Laffey earned his first win of the season on Saturday against Cleveland, but was not impressive, in giving up four runs and eight hits with three walks in five innings.

Laffey has faced the Red Sox seven times (2 starts) and is 0-1 against them with a 5.94 ERA.

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