Beckett brushes off early frustration, limits Twins offense

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Beckett brushes off early frustration, limits Twins offense

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the first inning Tuesday night, it seemed like Josh Beckett might have an abbreviated start. The only question was whether he'd leave because of Bobby Valentine or home plate umpire Adrian Johnson.

Beckett, handed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, gave up a base hit to the first hitter he faced, and after a fielder's choice, proceeded to walk the next three hitters, forcing in a run.

The pitcher gave long stares to Johnson, unhappy with being squeezed on some borderline pitches. When the inning was over, 37 pitches later, he turned toward Johnson and, TV replays showed, shouted that because of Johnson's strike zone, Beckett had had to get "five (expletive) outs.''

But perhaps it wasn't all bad. Beckett righted himself after that, allowing just one run over the next five innings and, tellingly no more walks as the Sox cruised to an 11-2 win.

"He got a little frustrated, possibly, but it really turned up his competitive fluids,'' said Valentine. "He wasn't going to be denied the victory. After the first inning, he threw strikes, got ahead and he wasn't going to let this one get away. We needed that kind of performance.

"He was into it. I haven't seen Josh like that. It really seemed like that this was a game he really wanted.''

Beckett wouldn't discuss his displeasure with Johnson's strike zone ("We won. I want to talk about that''), and he didn't necessarily agree with Valentine's assertion that the reaction might have been a benefit to him.

"I don't know,'' said Beckett. "Sometimes I think you can waste too much energy with that stuff. Today, it apparently helped our guys because they scored 11 runs. (But for me) it's a waste of energy and I don't need to waste energy.''

Whatever the motivation, Beckett was far more economical after the first. He needed just 63 pitches for the final 15 outs after needing 37 for the first three.

And he fanned the side in the sixth inning, finishing with a flourish.

"I probably threw a few more strikes,'' said Beckett of his turnaround. "They were pretty aggressive after (the first inning). It was really about the offense today. They were really on their game.

"It was a battle for me today. I felt like the stuff was there, but the location was a little bit off. I was a little bit effectively wild, especially after the first inning."

This was Beckett's first road win since last Aug. 24 at Texas.

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Mike Felger and Dan Shaughnessy discuss the Boston Red Sox bouncing back from their slump with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

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Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 win over Tampa Bay

 

QUOTES

"I can't say enough about the way our position players have continued to grind away. . . Tonight was just another example of that.'' - John Farrell.

"He's been everything that we could have hoped. You look to a starting pitcher to go out and be consistent every fifth day -- he's been a model of that for us.'' - Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"It's nice to come back with a statement game tonight. The past couple of week haven't been good for us, so it was nice to get back on the right track tonight.'' - Travis Shaw.

"Preventing them from scoring first was big and then limiting the big inning. The fourth inning was a grind. I dug myself a hole and had to find a way out of it.'' - Rick Porcello.

 

NOTES

* Rick Porcello became the first Red Sox starter to record a win since David Price beat Seattle on Jume 19.

* Porcello is unbeaten over his last eight starts, going 3-0 with five no-decisions.

* Porcello had gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than two walks, the longest such streak for a Red Sox starter since Curt Schilling went 33 in a row.

* The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and are one of two teams (Cleveland is the other) to not have lost four straight this season.

* Boston has a major league-leading 22 games in which it has scored eight or more runs.

* The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup were 11-for-24, while the bottom three were a combined 0-for-13.

* Travis Shaw's home run was measured at 449 feet, the second-longest homer by a Red Sox player this season.

* In one night, Travis Shaw had more RBI (five) than he had in his previous 27 games (four).

* David Ortiz tied Frank Thomas in career RBI (1,704); both are in 23rd place.

 

STARS

1) Travis Shaw

Shaw belted out three hits -- including his first homer in the month of June -- and knocked in five RBI, tying a career high.

2) Rick Porcello

In a perfect world, Porcello would have gone a little deeper, but kept the Rays off the scoreboard early and helped set the tone for the night.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez reached base five times with two hits -- both singles -- and three walks - one intentional - and seemed to be in the middle of every Red Sox rally.