Chris Sale allowed four runs in the first inning, but the Sox rallied for six runs off Yu Darvish and pulled away to a 9-5 victory over the Rangers that extended their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Tigers in the American League Central.
De Aza, whose two-run single in the fourth gave the Sox the lead for good at 5-4, thought he might miss only one game.
"It's still sore," De Aza said with a tight wrap on his wrist. "It will be sore for a little bit."
Meanwhile, the offense rallied in a variety of ways. Kevin Youkilis smacked a two-run homer off Darvish in the second, and Ramirez capped a three-run rally in the ninth with a two-run homer off reliever Alexi Ogando.
But the biggest play might have involved 6-foot-6, 285-pound designated hitter Adam Dunn. After drawing a walk with one out in the seventh, Dunn took off and stole second base and advanced to third on catcher Yorvit Torrealba's throwing error. Dunn scored on a fielder's choice that gave the Sox a 6-4 lead, which loomed large after the Rangers scored a run in the seventh.
"They weren't holding on me on," Dunn said. "I was kind of trying to get (first base coach) Harold Baines to get me (Ogando's times to home plate) when he was warming up, and I was thinking about maybe going sometime that at-bat because I know runs are pretty hard to come by once you start to get in their bullpen. I saw that weren't holding me on, and it made my decision to go pretty easy."
Sale (12-3) was the beneficiary of the run support and downplayed the fact that his fastball hovered around the 91 mph range — about 4 mph slower than his average speed earlier in the season.
"It's getting late in the year — that might be a little bit of it," Sale said. "But that's not something I'm paying attention to. I honestly couldn't care less how hard I'm throwing. It wasn't great, but the guys put together a great swinging lineup for us."
Said manager Robin Ventura: "We talked about (the velocity dip) a little bit, but it's him becoming more of a pitcher rather than just using velocity. Every once in a while he can still do it. But I don't think it's anything arm-related."
After hitting Craig Gentry and walking Ian Kinsler to start the fifth, Sale promptly struck out Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre in succession. Sale struck out six in 61/3 innings and allowed only three hits after the first.
With the Sox seemingly intent on holding onto a young core that has helped them remain in first place, their best chances of winning the division likely will come from talent currently in their organization.
One of the Mariners' top scouts followed the Sox during last weekend's series in Detroit and was at U.S. Cellular Field for part of the Twins series. But the Mariners seem intent on holding onto former AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, who is signed through 2014.
That could leave the Sox hoping that Danks' revamped rehabilitation program, in what appears a last-ditch effort, has him ready to pitch no later than early September.
As part of the new program, Danks no longer will throw long toss as part of his routine.
"We're going to get him loose enough to get him on the mound and try to get him to throw from 60 feet, 6 inches," pitching coach Don Cooper said after Danks threw 30 pitches off a mound. "And that's a distance we're going to need him to be ready to do if he is ready to help us."
Danks is scheduled to play catch Saturday and Sunday before throwing off a mound on Monday and then duplicating the routine again.
Danks, who hasn't pitched for the Sox since May 19, said he's "on board" with the program.
"Obviously, it would be ideal if we had longer time to build up arm strength, but we don't have that time," said Danks, who admitted wished he felt better after his bullpen session.
"I can push it more than I might want to. I've been assured I can't hurt it. As long as I can get the strength back and get to where I can be effective, I'm willing to try it."