Clay Buchholz (10-0) gave up three hits and struck out six batters over five innings in his first start since early June and the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-0, Tuesday night.
Buchholz, sidelined because of a strained neck, hadn't pitched in the majors since beating the Angels on June 8. The right-hander, who made three rehab starts in the minors, struck out Jose Molina with two on to end the second inning.
Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each drove in a run to help the Red Sox extend their lead over second-place Tampa Bay to 81/2 games. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara finished a four-hitter. Uehara got the final four outs for his 19th save.
Right-hander Jose Fernandez is approaching the 170-inning limit set by the Miami Marlins and will make his final start Wednesday against Atlanta.
Fernandez, a 21-year-old rookie, is 11-6 with a 2.23 earned-run average, the second-lowest in the majors. He has 182 strikeouts.
He was selected to the National League All-Star team.
Suspended shortstop Jhonny Peralta will work out with the Detroit Tigers before Wednesday's game against the White Sox in Chicago.
Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 as part of its investigation into Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
General Manager Dave Dombrowski made the announcement about Peralta after meeting with Tigers players. Dombrowski said no decision has been made on whether to activate Peralta, a two-time All-Star, who is eligible to return Sept. 27.