Beckett, bullpen retire 16 of last 17 Tiger batters to win the season series 5-2


Beckett, bullpen retire 16 of last 17 Tiger batters to win the season series 5-2

(May 8, 2008) – So far on the beginning of this road trip the second inning has been very, very good to the Red Sox. Except for yesterday, the Sox scored at least twice in the second inning. Tonight behind Josh Beckett’s masterful pitching performance the Sox took three out of four against the 15-21 Detroit Tigers with a 5-1 victory.

The lucky second inning started off with third baseman Mike Lowell, who appears to be coming around after starting the season hitting just above the Mendoza Line. Lowell and J.D. Drew lead off the inning with back-to-back base hits to center field and right field respectively, before catcher Jason Varitek stepped to the dish. Now everyone knows the captain is not known for his offensive prowess but the guy can and will produce at the plate from time to time. Varitek took the Justin Verlander offering and lined it just past the reach of Tigers shortstop Ramon Santiago.

After a base hit by center fielder Coco Crisp, moving Varitek up to second, Verlander hit Sox shortstop Julio Lugo. Even though, Beckett hit yesterday’s Red Sox killer, Placido Polanco, in the hand in the first, Verlander’s pitch was not retaliation. The ball just sailed too far inside and plunked Lugo on the back elbow. But pretty much that is all Lugo is useful for after making the costly error in the ninth last night.

On the mound, Beckett was pitched extremely well although he did run into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning. After getting the first two batters of the inning, Miguel Cabrera and Matt Joyce, to ground out and fly out, respectively, he gave up a single to left off the bat of Tigers designated hitter Marcus “It’s a river in England” Thames. Infield and back upt catcher, Brandon Inge was giving starter Ivan Rodriguez the night off behind the dish but delivered Detroit’s only run with a single into right field to drive home Thames.

With the Red Sox lead cut down to two and Detroit back in the ballgame, first baseman Kevin Youkilis decided it was up to him to put the Tigers back in their proper place in the fifth. After David Ortiz swung on a 3-0 count and flew out to left with Jacoby Ellsbury on first, the most patient hitter on the team wasted no time at the plate in his third at-bat of the night. On the first offering from Verlander, Youkilis saw what he liked and lined a pitch in the Sox bullpen in left field just over Tigers leaping left field Joyce. And just like that the Red Sox were on top 5-1 and would not look back.

Beckett went on to pitch two more innings retiring 10 consecutive batters after Santiago’s base hit in the bottom of the fourth. The Sox ace would go on to pitch seven innings allowing just the one run on six hits while walking none and striking out eight Detroit batters. How many batters did he strike out, Teddy? Beckett turned the reigns over to Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen to get the final six outs of the game. Hansen pitched a terrific eighth inning getting the side in order, one-two-three, making it 13 Tiger hitters retired by Sox pitching. Delcarmen could have made it 16 but gave up a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to Thames.

After tonight’s game the Sox will board their charter to New England’s feeder state – Minnesota – to personally thank the Timberwolves, Vikings and Gophers. Without their contributions, Boston would not be the City of Champions that they are today. Thank you, Minnesota for the Big Ticket, KG, Kevin Garnett, Randy Moss and the former University of Minnesota Gopher Laurence Maroney.

The Boston baseball team will send the young left handed, Jon Lester to the mound in Boston’s first trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to face Twins right hander Boof Bonser. (And no I am not joking with Bonser’s first name.) Bonser is 2-4 on the season with a 4.29 ERA with 27 strike outs and a 1.24 WHIP while Lester stands at 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA and 27 strike outs and a 1.49 WHIP.

Last time out for the Sox young lefty, Lester pitched six innings in a 7-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays last Sunday. After throwing 112 pitches, Lester allowed just one earned run on four hits while striking out five and walking just three Tampa Bay hitters. Bonser on the other hand is coming off a no-decision 7-6 Twins win against the Tigers last Sunday also. The Twins’s righty went six innings where he allowed six runs – five earned – on eight hits while striking out five Tigers on 99 pitches.

WIN: Josh Beckett (4-2)

LOSS: Justin Verlander (1-6)


Game Notes:

Manny Ramirez got the night off for the last game against the Tigers. Jacoby Ellsbury will start in left field in place of Ramirez.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Josh Beckett, BOSTON --- 7IP, 6H, 1ER, 8K
  1. Kevin Youkilis, BOSTON --- 1-5 Homerun, 2 RBIs
  1. Coco Crisp, BOSTON --- 3-4

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