Thursday May 31, 2012 | 06:35 AM

With their 6-4 win over the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, the Red Sox (26-24) remained in last place in the AL East, but are only 2.5 games out of first place in the tightly-packed division.

Josh Beckett (4-4, 4.15) goes against Detroit's Max Scherzer (4-3, 5.67) tonight. Since being shelled following his golf outing, Beckett is 2-0 over his last three starts, having lasted at least 7 innings in each one, and allowing a total of 3 earned runs.

Pawtucket was without shortstop Jose Iglesias (lower back pain) for a fifth straight game. Bad timing. He had been hitting .340 in May ... Che Hsuan Lin (.263) went 2-for-4.

The Sea Dogs split a doubleheader. Juan Carlos Linares (.331) hit his 7th home run, Bryce Brentz (.287) his 6th, and Jeremy Hazelbaker (.234) his 4th.

Billy Buckner (3.20) continued his quest in trying to get back to the majors, going all 7 innings in the first game: 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Stolmy Pimentel (5.04) also went the distance in the second game. His line was not impressive: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K. But six of the hits and all 5 runs were scored with one out in the fourth inning.

One of Pimentel's issues last year was poise. But after giving up all those runs, Pimentel re-grouped and retired the last eight batters he faced.

Obviously, the goal is to avoid such disastrous innings, but call it a positive step.

Salem had two of the top Red Sox pitching prospects on the mound for a doubleheader Wednesday. Matt Barnes had his "worst" outing to date: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K. His ERA in advanced Class A is 1.93 ... Drake Britton (5.80) is not consistent, but he looked fine on Wednesday: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

Michael Almanzar (.293) went 5-for-7 in the doubleheader ... Travis Shaw (.340) went 3-for-5 with two home runs in the second game.

Greenville's usual suspects came through Wednesday: Keury De La Cruz (.315) was 3-for-4, and Garin Cecchini (.312) was 2-for-4.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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