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Doubront Back On The Mound As Red Sox Battle Rays In Tampa

(Sports Network) - Felix Doubront returns to Boston's rotation this evening when the Red Sox continue their three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Doubront will be stepping in for an injured Clay Buchholz, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a strained left hamstring.

The 22-year-old Doubront earned the win in his big league debut earlier this season when he allowed five runs -- three earned -- on six hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts over five-plus innings in Boston's 10-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 18.

The Rays drew first blood in Monday's opener, as Jason Bartlett's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning proved to be the difference, helping Tampa Bay to a 6-5 win.

John Jaso had a two-run single, and Carl Crawford added three hits, drove in one and score a run for Tampa Bay, which has won three straight and five of its last six overall.

Randy Choate (2-2) earned the win for retiring the final batter in the top of the seventh. Rays starter Matt Garza lasted only three innings after giving up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks. Rafael Soriano closed out the game with a scoreless ninth to record his 22nd save of the season.

"To be able to pick (the starters up) -- I mean, they're struggling a little bit, compared to what they were doing earlier in the year -- it's just nice to be there and do our role," Choate said.

Eric Patterson went 3-for-5 with two homers, while Kevin Youkilis chipped in with an RBI triple for the Red Sox, who have dropped three of five.

"Personally, it was a good night, but losing the game stings. We'll come back tomorrow, try to get two of three," Patterson said.

Ramon Ramirez (0-2) took the loss for giving up the go-ahead run. Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was tagged for eight hits and five runs -- four earned -- with four walks and struck out four in five-plus innings.

Getting the call for Tampa Bay will be righty Jeff Niemann, who is 6-2 with a 2.80 ERA. He did not get a decision on Wednesday in Minnesota, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 5-4 win.

Niemann beat the Red Sox back on April 19 and is 1-1 in two starts against them with a 6.30 ERA.

On the milestone watch, Boston manager Terry Francona is one win shy of 900 for his big league career. Once he gets that win, Francona will join Tony La Russa (2,597), Bobby Cox (2,461), Joe Torre (2,291), Lou Piniella (1,819), Jim Leyland (1,455), Dusty Baker (1,361), Bruce Bochy (1,223) and Mike Scioscia (946) as the only active managers to reach the 900 mark.

Tampa has won six of its 10 meetings with Boston this season, but the Red Sox have won four of the last six matchups.