Anderson threw 76 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out four.
"We were targeting maybe 65, but once he got that far, wanted to give him a chance to maybe get through five," Francona said.
Anderson was filling in on short notice for Carlos Carrasco, who recently hit the DL himself with shoulder soreness. Anderson hadn't pitched since Aug.7.
"I think it went pretty well," Anderson said. "For not seeing a live batter for a while, to go out there and throw strikes was the most important thing and eat as many innings as I could for the bullpen and keep the team in reach of winning."
Anderson's fastball was sitting at 94 mph in the early innings, but had diminished to around 92 by the fifth inning.
His first eight starts couldn't have come with a wider range of results. Over the first four, the tall right-hander posted an 0.89 ERA. Over the next four, however, that number ballooned to 10.19, as he struggled to locate his fastball down in the strike zone, allowing 29 hits and four homers in 17 2/3 innings before his oblique flared up.
For Anderson, the most encouraging thing about Wednesday's start was his ability to keep that fastball down in the zone, as it was in those first four starts.
"I was actually able to keep the ball down a little better today," Anderson said with a smile. "And I had a little better results."
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.