BOSTON (CBS) – After dropping 11 of 14 games in September, the Boston Red Sox are hoping Josh Beckett’s return to the rotation will bust their current slump.

On Friday, he pitches against a team he has owned during the 2011 season.

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In two outings against the Tampa Bay Rays, Beckett has allowed just two hits over 17 scoreless innings.  He tossed a complete game one-hitter in June, and followed it up with eight more innings of shutout ball in July.

The Red Sox were in a much better place at that point. They’re hoping Beckett’s return will spark the team that is ahead of Tampa by just three games in the Wild Card standings.

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“It’ll be nice to see him out there healthy; we wouldn’t pitch him if he wasn’t,” said Manager Terry Francona after Boston’s 9-2 loss to the Rays on Thursday. “It will be nice to see him out there attacking the strike zone and kind of being the Josh we’ve come to rely on… That will give us a big lift for sure.”

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“That’ll be great. One good outing can change things around,” said David Ortiz, who has been very vocal about the Sox being in “panic-mode.”

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“It’s big,” shortstop Marco Scutaro said of Beckett’s return. “We need to start working as a team. Pitching a little better, scoring some runs, play better defense. We haven’t been doing that lately; that’s why we’ve been struggling to win games. The beautiful thing about baseball is tomorrow is another day.”

Beckett, who is 12-5 with a 2.49 ERA this season, has not pitched since September 5th in Toronto when he sprained his ankle while in the bullpen. He pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings that day, but had to leave the game after tweaking the ankle.

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With their lead in the AL East a distant memory, and the Rays gaining ground in the Wild Card race, Boston will need a strong Beckett the rest of the way if they want their season to extend into October.