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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, June 30th (All times Eastern)

Boston Red Sox (41-36) at Seattle Mariners (33-46), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston Red Sox - Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14) Seattle Mariners - Erasmo Ramirez (0-2, 4.18)

(Sports Network) - Josh Beckett will make his return today for the Boston Red Sox as they square off with the Seattle Mariners in the third installment of a four-game set at Safeco Field.

Beckett has not pitched since June 11 after inflammation in his right shoulder sent him to the disabled list. Prior to his injury, the Red Sox ace struggled this season. Beckett has lost his last three starts, which dropped his record to 4-7. He had seven losses at the end of last season.

There have been many promising performances this season from the former World Series MVP, including a strong outing against the Mariners on May 15 at Fenway Park, where he allowed only four hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings. This season, Beckett is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA in five away starts.

Beckett will try to follow up Aaron Cook's complete game performance on Friday night. Cook was able to mow down the Mariners, while facing 28 batters, just one over the minimum in Boston's 5-0 victory.

The Red Sox finally got it going offensively at Safeco Field after struggling to hit in Seattle.

"You know, we went about 12 innings being shutout in this ballpark and hit some balls right to the wall and I saw a little frustration in the dugout until Will one-handed one into the steps over the fence," said manager Bobby Valentine. "It seemed like everyone loosened up after that."

Will Middlebrooks, Cody Ross and Daniel Nava each hit solo home runs in the fifth inning, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a two-run blast in the sixth to help the Red Sox earn their third win in their last four tries.

Adrian Gonzalez singled in the sixth last night to extend his hit streak to 10 games. Jarrod Saltalamacchia came up big with two RBI.

David Ortiz is still one homer shy of 400 in his career.

The Mariners will try to turn things around with Erasmo Ramirez as their starter. The right-hander had a strong showing on Monday as he allowed just three hits in eight innings to the A's on Monday while striking out a career- high 10 batters. Ramirez was the youngest player to make an opening day roster this season and was recalled from Triple-A a few weeks ago after showing steady improvement.

Seattle's offense was stagnant on Friday.

"We were horrible tonight," manager Eric Wedge said after his team endured its 10th shutout of the season. "We stunk up the joint. Nothing more to say. An [81]-pitch complete game, not to take anything away from that guy, but we can't make it that easy for him. Just brutal."

Ichiro Suzuki and John Jaso were the only Mariners who reached base. It was the 10th shutout loss for Seattle this season.

The Mariners are batting a MLB-worst .197 at home and a meager .167 through the first five games of their current homestand.

Boston swept a two-game set from the Mariners earlier in the year at Fenway Park, outscoring them 11-1.

06/30 12:58:48 ET

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