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at Red Sox
What's new: The Sox are getting healthy, with the return of OF Shane Victorino and 3B Will Middlebrooks from the DL allowing them to use their projected starting lineup for the first time Friday, and are getting better, winning seven of 12. Though their still-patient offense has been middle of the pack production-wise and their defense shaky, their pitching has been solid, especially the bullpen, with LHP Chris Capuano a helpful addition. The Sox are 8-0 when leading after seven innings.
Key stat: Of the Rays' 12 losses to the Sox last year, six were decided from the ninth on, three on walkoffs.
Connections: Red Sox OF Jonny Gomes and RHP Burke Badenhop are former Rays, 3B coach Brian Butterfield a former Eckerd College assistant. Rays LHP Erik Bedard and 1B James Loney were briefly Sox.
Series history: Sox lead 162-116, 89-50 in Boston, though Rays are 22-15 there the past four seasons.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer