Red Sox

Ortiz, Gonzalez Return To Lineup Against Rays

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David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park August 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park August 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox will have their lineup back intact Thursday night when they open a crucial four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway.

Designated hitter David Ortiz and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez are in the lineup Thursday night. Ortiz was a late scratch Tuesday against the Blue Jays and also missed Wednesday’s game with back spasms. Gonzalez left Wednesday’s 5-4 loss prior to the seventh inning after experiencing tightness in his left calf.

Both are back and in their normal slots in the lineup to start a series the Red Sox very much need to win.

Roche Blog: Time For “Rise And Grind”

The Red Sox own a four-game lead over the Rays in the Wild Card race with just 14 games remaining in the season. Boston started the month with a nine-game lead over the Rays, but a 3-10 start to the season’s final month has seen their lead diminish.

Boston goes up against 24-year old Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 2.96 ERA) on Thursday, who has held the Red Sox bats to a .209 average in three starts this season. The Red Sox send rookie Kyle Weiland (0-1, 6.75) to the hill.

Gresh & Zo: What Is Wrong With The Red Sox?

No one on Boston is hitting above .300 against the Rays, with Dustin Pedroia leading the way at .276. Jacoby Ellsbury is only hitting .250, but has six home runs and nine RBI over 14 games.

Here is the full lineup for Thursday’s series opener:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

David Ortiz, DH

Kevin Youkilis, 3B

Josh Reddick, RF

Carl Crawford, LF

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

Marco Scutaro, SS

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