All-Stars Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez all homered as part of a six-homer barrage on Baltimore pitching as the Red Sox crushed the hapless Orioles, 10-4, Thursday night at Fenway Park in the opener of a four-game series. Dustin Pedroia also homered and singled for the Sox, who won their third straight, improved to 52-35 and moved into first place in the AL East by a half-game over the Yankees, losers at home to the Rays.

Dick Williams - the man who managed the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox of 1967 - died Thursday at his Las Vegas home of a brain aneurysm. He was 82.

Williams also led the Oakland A’s to two of their three 1970s World Series titles and led the 1984 Padres to their first-ever National League pennant.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Thursday that the team is still mulling its options for a possible starter to take the place of Jon Lester on Sunday afternoon in the pre-All Star break finale against the Orioles at Fenway Park. Lester was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left lat. 

Six of the nine Red Sox starting battters will hit from the left side of the plate in Thursday's series opener against the Orioles and their righty starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. Lefties J.D. Drew and Josh Reddick will take the corner outfield spots in right and left respectively while Adrian Gonzalez returns to first base after sitting out his first game of the 2011 season in Wednesday's 6-4 win over the Blue Jays. Switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch starter Andrew Miller for the third time out of the southpaw's four big-league starts this season.

It was approximately three hours before the start of Wednesday’s game, and Jacoby Ellsbury was talking with Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick about his ticket requests for the All-Star game.



The Red Sox released the following statement from team medical director Dr. Thomas Gill regarding the health of pitchers Clay Buchholz (on the DL since June 19 due to a lower back strain) and Jon Lester (who went on the DL on Wednesday):

"Clay Buchholz was seen in consultation by Dr. Craig Brigham today in Charlotte. Dr. Brigham agreed with the team's assessment that the back symptoms can be treated with rehabilitation. Clay will be advanced in his activities as his symptoms allow," Gill's statement said.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis each homered and doubled twice and Tim Wakefield recovered from a rough start to baffle the Blue Jays over seven innings and lead the Red Sox to a 6-4 win Wednesday night at Fenway Park. 

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Wednesday's game that the team is hopeful to have star left fielder Carl Crawford back shortly after the All-Star break. Crawford has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a strained left hamstring. 

The Red Sox have recalled reliever Scott Atchison from Triple-A Pawtucket and placed Jon Lester on the disabled list with a left lat strain.

Lester tossed four no-hittings in Tuesday's 3-2 Red Sox win, but left with the injury. Manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday's Big Show that the team would decide Lester's fate after the 27-year-old ace had an MRI, and said prior to Wednesday's tilt with the Blue Jays that Lester was indeed headed for the DL.

And in the 86th game, he rested.

For the first time as a member of the Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez is not in the starting lineup. The first baseman will sit against Jays lefty Ricky Romero, against whom he is 1-for-6 with five strikeouts this year. Manager Terry Francona said on The Big Show that Gonzalez has also been dealing with some neck stiffness that played into the decision to have him out of the lineup.