Red Sox’s Beeks gets first MLB start vs. Tigers

BOSTON — Jalen Beeks was not the first member of his family to learn the young left-hander was going to the major leagues to start for the Boston Red Sox against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

And you can thank social media for that.

“My dad called me because he knew,” Beeks said at Fenway Park Wednesday. “I had two or three phone calls to me about it before I got to talk to my wife, but I’ve made quite a few since.”

He said it was likely Twitter that gave his dad the news, which officially came from the Pawtucket pitching coach.

“Kevin Walker came into the training room and told me I was going to the big leagues and making the start on Thursday,” Beeks said. “It was a special moment. I’ve been with Walk for parts of three years, he’s been my pitching coach. He’s my guy. That was a really cool moment.”

With Red Sox manager Alex Cora looking to give his regular rotation guys an extra day of rest, Steven Wright got was supposed to be a spot start Tuesday. But when Drew Pomeranz went on the disabled list with bicep tendinitis, Cora needed a starter for Thursday, when the first-place Red Sox look to finish a three-game sweep of the Tigers with their fifth straight win.

He will face Detroit’s Matthew Boyd.

Beeks is 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and .197 batting average against in 10 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket. He has struck out 80 and walked 14 in 56 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox have responded to losing the first two games of their series in Houston with four straight wins. At 43-19, they remained a game ahead of the winning New York Yankees atop the American League East.

From the Red Sox’ post-game notes: “This is the 3rd time in the club’s 118-year history they have won at least 43 of their first 62 games, having also done so in 1946 (44-17-1) and 1978 (43-19).”

The Tigers had been playing well but have lost four of their last five games to fall to 29-34.

Boston has outscored Detroit 13-1 in the first two games of the series.

Boyd comes into Thursday’s start with a 3-4 record. But entering play Wednesday, he was seventh in the American League in opponents’ batting average against (.202) and was ninth in ERA (.301) in his last 15 starts dating back to last season.

He has yielded three earned runs or less in eight of his 11 starts this season and comes into this start 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox. This will be his first appearance at Fenway.

Mitch Moreland is the only Red Sox hitter with more than four at-bats against Boyd, going 4-for-11 (.364). The current Boston roster is a combined 10-for-31 (.323) without a homer against the left-hander.

The Red Sox optioned lefty Bobby Poyner back to Pawtucket to make room for Beeks on the roster.

After Wednesday night’s loss, reliever Alex Wilson was activated by the Tigers from the disabled list, with Ronny Rodriguez returned to Triple-A.

Third baseman Jeimer Candelerio, who had his right middle finger jammed by a 104 mph smash off the bat of J.D. Martinez on Tuesday and rested Wednesday.

“We just go day by day,” said Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire. “We’ve always tried to do that. Every team has injuries. It got a little crazy there for a little while and we started getting people back, which is a good thing. Now, we’re grinding through 18 games in a row (in 17 days). It is what it is.”

Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, back on the disabled list with inflammation on his surgically repaired left knee, got a positive report from the doctor as he progresses toward a return.

“I talked to him early and at least mentally he’s in a good place again,” Cora said. “He’s relieved. And when they told him it has nothing to do with the surgery, like structural damage, there’s nothing there, just inflammation, he feels better.”

Pedroia and Mookie Betts, on the DL with an abdominal strain, were set to take on-field batting practice Thursday.

On Pedroia, Cora said, “We’ll make sure we use him the right way. I think we were using him the right way. Two days and an off day, and all that stuff. But if the workload has to be less, I do feel like we’re capable of playing other guys at second. Eduardo (Nunez) is swinging the bat a lot better. And at second he’s been a lot better lately just making the plays. We’ve got Brock (Holt). So we should be fine.”