Beckett's rough first inning dooms Red Sox


Beckett's rough first inning dooms Red Sox

CHICAGO -- What few mistakes Josh Beckett made in the Red Sox road trip finale, he managed to make them early.

But those mistakes loomed large later, thanks to his counterpart, Gavin Floyd.

Beckett allowed a run-scoring single to Alex Rios and a two-run homer to Adam Dunn in the first inning, handing the Chicago White Sox a quick 3-0 lead that would stand up for a 4-1 White Sox victory.

"That's a pretty tough hole to put your team in," said Beckett, 2-3, "especially with a guy (Floyd) who I know has pitched well against us in the past."

The pitch to Dunn, guessed Beckett, was "assuming the way he hit, probably right down the (expletive) middle. The two-run homer was the difference between that and the rest of the game. You can give them one, in that situation. Leadoff guy (Alejando De Aza) gets a hit, they bunt him over and they want to manufacture a run in the first inning.

"As a pitcher, you have to minimize the damage and give them the one run and move on."

After the first, Beckett was masterful, allowing just two baserunners from the second through the sixth.

In the seventh, he seemed to tire some, allowing a two-out single to Eduardo Escobar, the No. 9 hitter, before finishing with two straight walks and giving way to Scott Atchison.

"Josh was good with all of his pitches," said Bobby Valentine. "His stuff might have been a little flat in (the first inning). The rest of the game, right up until the last pitch he threw, it looked like he had good movement, location, his curve ball was good.

"It was one of those days where we didn't score for him."

Beckett left with two out in the seventh, having tied a career-high with 126 pitches, his most in a start since 2004.

"I wasn't really paying too much attention to it," he said of the workload. "I was just trying to get that last out (which resulted in a 12-pitch walk to Brent Lillibridge)."

It helps that Beckett, like Jon Lester (124 pitches Saturday night) will get an extra day of rest before the next turn, thanks to a scheduled off-day Thursday.

Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.