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Red Sox turn to Beckett for big series with O's

The Boston Red Sox turn to Josh Beckett to keep their game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Boston didn't help itself in the wild card race this weekend, as it dropped two of three to the New York Yankees, but managed to hold onto the lead with a win in the second game of a day/night doubleheader on Sunday.

The Red Sox avoided a sweep, as Jacoby Ellsbury's three-run blast off Scott Proctor in the 14th inning boosted Boston to a 7-4 win.

Ellsbury hit a pair of homers in a 6-2 loss in the afternoon contest, but his 31st of the year was huge considering the Rays won at home over Toronto Sunday afternoon.

The Red Sox, who are 6-18 in September, were in first place in the AL East coming into the month, but have won just four of their last 18 games. Just prior to the brutal stretch, going into September 7, they owned an eight-game lead on the Rays in the wild card standings, but that is now down to one.

"A lot of people are writing us off, so we're going to come out and play our butts off," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.

Ellsbury should continue to hit tonight, as he has hit safely in 33 consecutive game against Baltimore. It's the longest hitting streak against the Orioles franchise and the longest by a Red Sox player against any team.

Tonight, it will be Beckett, who is 13-6 with a 2.70 ERA. Beckett lost for the first time in five decisions on Wednesday to the Orioles, as he allowed six runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 frames.

He is 7-4 lifetime versus Baltimore with a 3.99 ERA in 17 starts.

The O's, meanwhile, will rely on righty Tommy Hunter, did not get a decision on Wednesday against the Red Sox. Hunter gave up four runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of that one and remained 4-4 on the year to go along with a 4.86 ERA.

Hunter is 2-1 in five starts against the Red Sox, despite a 7.50 ERA.

The Orioles dropped two of three to the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers over the weekend, but have won four of their last six and took three of four from the Red Sox last week.

Boston, though, is 9-6 against the Orioles this season.

Vladimir Guerrero was 0-for-4 in Sunday's loss and is stuck on 2,586 hits for his career. He needs one more hit to move past Julio Franco for the all-time lead among Dominican-born players.