Despite leading 8-3, and having thrown just 68 pitches, Josh Beckett left Friday's game against the Orioles after five innings after slipping on a wet mound at Fenway and suffering a mildly hyperextended left knee. The Red Sox say he left for precautionary reasons. 

Righthander Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut on Sunday in the pre-All Star break finale against the Orioles at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old will be taking the place of Jon Lester in the Red Sox rotation, as Lester went on the disabled list this week with a left lat strain suffered in Tuesday's start against the Blue Jays. 

Former Red Sox player and current MLB Network and NESN analyst Kevin Millar joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon for his weekly discussion about baseball.

With floundering outfielder Mike Cameron shipped off to Florida, J.D. Drew has taken even more criticism for his lack of production this season. When asked what he would do with the struggling 35-year-old, Millar stepped into the role of general manager.

The Red Sox hit six home runs Thursday night, a feat they hadn't accomplished since Sept. 8, 2009. 

They also managed to go deep in back-to-back-to-back at-bats for the first time since Aug. 13 of last season.

Following his team's 10-4 drubbing of the Orioles Thursday night at Fenway Park — a win that vaulted the Red Sox back into first in the AL East — Dustin Pedroia said the Red Sox have things well in perspective and won't get too excited about leapfrogging the Yankees for one night. 

“There’s a lot of games to be played," Pedroia said, referring to the 74 games left in the season. "We’re not going to get too excited because we’re a half-game up or whatever. What is it, July? We have a long way to go.”

Speaking after the Red Sox' 10-4 win over the Orioles Thursday night, Clay Buchholz said he was optimistic regarding his injured back after an examination with Dr. Craig Brigham Wednesday, and presented somewhat of a timetable moving forward.

"It was definitely good news," said the pitcher, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 19. "Structurally, there was no damage. My thoughts going in was thinking they were going to say something bad, but I came out there in a lot better spirits than when I went in, so that was good."

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.