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Red Sox 4, Rays 2

Few bumps in road for Sox

They finish trip with 8-1 record

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By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 17, 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox returned to Boston last night having completed a wildly successful road trip with a 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays but also with two significant injury concerns.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie appears headed for the disabled list after feeling his left shoulder pop out of the socket while taking a swing in the first inning. He immediately left the game and will be examined today.

Clay Buchholz also has an appointment with the medical staff after lasting just five innings with a sore lower back. His injury does not appear as serious as Lowrie’s but is potentially more troublesome given the importance of starting pitchers.

The injuries only slightly darkened the accomplishment of having gone 8-1 on a trip to New York, Toronto, and Tampa Bay. The Sox had not played that well on a nine-game trip since going 9-0 against the Angels, Athletics, and Mariners in 1977.

“The best teams play well on the road and that’s what we’ve done,’’ said Adrian Gonzalez, who was 2 for 3 with a double, a home run, and two walks. “We’re playing really good baseball right now.’’

The Sox outscored their opponents, 67-25, on the trip and last night roughed up Rays ace David Price. He was done after five innings, having thrown 106 pitches and given up three runs.

“That’s pretty pathetic,’’ Price said.

Dustin Pedroia drew a walk with one out in the first inning and raced to third when Gonzalez ripped a double down the right-field line.

Price threw a fastball inside to Kevin Youkilis, then a second fastball that hit him in the back. As Youkilis glared at Price, umpire Gary Darling warned both teams.

Youkilis was 5 for 13 in his career against Price with two doubles. He clearly preferred to face lefthanded-hitting David Ortiz, who was 2 for 12 against him.

“A base was open,’’ Youkilis said. “That sounds logical.’’

Ortiz foiled that logic. He fouled off the first two pitches then drew a walk to force in a run. Price escaped further damage but threw 33 pitches in the inning.

The Sox scored two more runs in the second inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to the gap in right and scored when Darnell McDonald singled to center.

McDonald was starting for only the sixth time this season and playing for the first time since coming off the DL Tuesday.

McDonald moved up to second when B.J. Upton missed the cutoff man on his throw to the plate. That proved important as he scored on a double to right field by Pedroia.

The Sox did not score again until the ninth, when Gonzalez drilled a sinker from Kyle Farnsworth into the right-field stands.

Buchholz (6-3) pitched well in his five innings, allowing one run on two hits. He walked three and struck out five.

Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon handled the final four innings.

Aceves gave up a home run to Casey Kotchman in the sixth inning. In the ninth, Kotchman led off with a double against Papelbon before Upton reached on an infield single.

Pinch hitter Elliot Johnson tried to bunt and popped the ball foul. Youkilis, who was breaking in from third base, made a diving catch for the first out. Another pinch hitter, Justin Ruggiano, struck out looking at a 96-mile-per-hour fastball from Papelbon.

Papelbon then struck out Sean Rodriguez, much to the delight of the many Sox fans in the crowd of 23,495 at Tropicana Field.

Today could bring some roster moves.

Lowrie struck out facing Price with the bases loaded and grimaced after swinging through a slider. When the Sox took the field, Marco Scutaro was at short.

“It came out and went back in,’’ said Lowrie, who was moving his left arm gingerly after the game. “I’ve never done this before.’’

Lowrie bruised his shoulder in Detroit May 29 in a collision with Carl Crawford. He is 5 for 39 (.128) since with only two hits in his last 28 at-bats.

In Pawtucket, infielder Drew Sutton left the game after six innings. He would be the logical choice to replace Lowrie.

The Red Sox also have a replacement for Buchholz ready in lefthander Andrew Miller, who is expected to be called up next week.

Buchholz said his back tightened up in the second inning.

“It felt like a pulled muscle that’s in there and every time I tried to get out and extend a little bit more with a pitch, that’s when I felt it,’’ Buchholz said. “Last inning, it felt like I was compensating in my delivery for it. That’s how you injure yourself in other places.’’

Buchholz does not feel he needs to go on the disabled list. He pointed out that the team has two days off coming up and can modify the rotation.

Terry Francona’s comments indicated a more conservative approach could be taken.

“We need to see how he’s feeling. We certainly don’t want to go through the rest of the year like this,’’ the manager said.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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