Josh Beckett took the mound for the Sox and while he still had some first inning struggles, he buckled down and was able to bring the Sox the win they needed to take the series against the Rays.
Beckett looked like he was having a case of deja vu in the first inning. Beckett gave up 3 straight singles to start the inning including an RBI single to Zobrist before recording an out. With 2 outs, it looked like Beckett might have been able to get out of the innings without too much damage, but then he gave up a 2 RBI single to Jennings to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. All of Red Sox Nation let out a collective ugh and probably some “baseball terms.” The good news is that Beckett settled down well and was able to give the Sox some innings and left the mound in line for a win. It’s like a flip switched with Beckett from the 3rd inning on and looked more like that ace we need him to be. Beckett’s line for the night was 104 pitches, 6 IP, 3 R, 2 BB and 7 Ks.
Beckett also got a good amount of run support to allow him to shake off the poor first couple of innings and hunker down for the win. The Sox gave Beckett a brief lead in the 1st inning when James Shields walked the first two batters he faced and then Gonzo hit an RBI single. Sox 1-0. After the Sox went down 1-3, the Sox tied in the game in the 2nd with a 2 run HR from Mike Aviles. Sox 3-3. That was the 10th HR of the season for Aviles and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Sox took the lead in the 5th with a solo HR from Daniel Nava. Sox 4-3. The Sox kept the inning going with singles from Papi and Cody Ross and then Salty was walked to load the bases. Will Middlebrooks hit a 2 run RBI single to give the Sox a 6-3 lead. The Sox scored their final run in the 6th when they once again had the bases loaded. Cody Ross hit an RBI sac fly to CF to plate Jacoby Ellsbury. Sox 7-3.
The bullpen came out and was able to protect Beckett’s start. Tazawa, who was just called up today to replace the DL’ed Atchison, took the mound in the 7th. Tazawa ended up giving up 2 singles and Bobby V came out and replaced him with Mark Melancon. With a runner at 3rd base and only one out, Melancon was able to retire the next two batters without allowing the run to score. Melancon also pitched a scoreless 8th inning and turned the ball over to Alfredo Aceves in the 9th. Aces ended up making a non-save situation feel like a save situation by issuing 3 walks in the inning. With 2 outs the bases were loaded and Hideki Matsui as the tying run was loomingat the plate. Matsui hit a ball that sounded well hit off the bat, however it was playable for Cody Ross who retired Matsui and notched down the win. Phew.
In Jacoby’s 2nd game back from the DL he had himself a very nice night at the plate. Ells went 3 for 5 for the night. Middlebrooks also looked locked in at the plate going 3 for 4 for the night.
Red Sox 7 Rays 3 BOXSCORE