Beckett again spectacular in win over Phils, 5-1

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Beckett again spectacular in win over Phils, 5-1

PHILADELPHIA -- In his second start on his Redeption Tour, Josh Beckett was once again spectacular.

Beckett allowed just one run on seven hits in 7 23 innings, pitching the Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies and a win of their weekend interleague series.

The Red Sox have won three of their last four and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Beckett has allowed just one in his last two starts, covering 14 23 innings since he was clubbed for seven runs in just 2 13 innings against Cleveland. That start came after Beckett became embroiled in a public relations fiasco in which he went golfing two days before being skipped in the rotation because of a lat pull.

Of the seven hits that Beckett allowed, four didn't leave the infield. He shutout the Phils through he first seven innings -- extending his scoreless streak to 14 consecutive innings -- before losing his shutout bid on a double, single and sacrifice fly in the eighth.

He was given an early lead in the first when Mike Aviles smashed his second leadoff homer in as many games and third homer overall in the series. Aviles drove in the second run with an RBI single in the second.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia's three-run homer in the third was the big blow, stretching the Boston lead to 5-0. All five runs came off Cliff Lee, who entered the game with a 1.95 ERA.

Vicente Padilla got the final out in the eighth and Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

STAR OF THE GAME: Josh Beckett
Beckett turned in his second straight strong start, allowing just a run over 7 23 innings. When the Phillies scratched out a run in the eighth, it snapped a 14 inning scoreless streak. Of the seven hits allowed, four didn't leave the infield.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Aviles
Aviles led off the game with a homer for the second straight day, then added a run-scoring single. Aviles homered in each game of the series and is hitting .400 over his last six games.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Cliff Lee
Lee entered the game with a 1.75 ERA, but was rocked for five runs in the first three innings. He gave up nine hits in seven innings, but that doesn't count another handful of outs that were hard-hit line drives at his fielders.
TURNING POINT
The Sox were leading 2-0 when Jarrod Saltalamacchia smoked a ball over anything to dead center, one of the hardest-hit homers by anyone this season. With two baserunners on, that made it 5-0.

BY THE NUMBERS
Aviles became the first Red Sox hitter to lead off two straight games with homers since Harry Hooper did in 1913.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Was that the longest single in the history of baseball?'' Bobby Valentine, on Josh Beckett's 400-foot single off the center field wall in the seventh inning.

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.