Notes: Varitek looks like Sox' primary catcher

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Notes: Varitek looks like Sox' primary catcher

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BALTIMORE -- No official announcement has been forthcoming, and it's likely none is on its way. But it's hard not to come away with the feeling that, for the time being at least, Jason Varitek is the Red Sox primary starting catcher.

Varitek was behind the plate Tuesday night as the Sox opened a series here with the Orioles.

The last two times through the rotation, Varitek has caught each start by Jason Varitek, Dasuke Matsuzaka and Monday's starter, Clay Buccholz.

It seems that Terry Francona will stick with that rotation, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia pairing with Jon Lester and John Lackey.

"Back when the season started,'' said Francona, "you guys asked me, 'How much is Tek going to catch?' I said he would catch more than the average backup catcher and that some it would be based on production and how guys are doing. He's been catching so well. I just think it made some sense.

"We're playing pretty well with both of them (8-1 in the last 9 games heading into Monday). We had a hole to dig ourselves out of and I think sometimes we're just trying to play guys to help us win.''

Varitek has just three hits all season in 30 at-bats (.100), but the presence of lefty Zack Britton played a role in Francona's decision too, since he would prefer to have the switch-hitting Varitek hit righthanded when possible.

But offense aside, it's hard not to look at the two catchers' won-loss record. While the Sox are 3-9 with Saltalamacchia behind the plate, they are 8-3 with Varitek after Tuesday's loss.

"He's pretty good back there,'' said Francona. "And again, that's no knock in Salty. But that's Tek's strength and I think sometimes it's important to go ahead and play him.''

Francona indicated that Varitek would likely catch Wednesday night, too, when Beckett is scheduled to start.

A couple of streaks came to an abrupt end for the Red Sox pitching staff Tuesday night:

-- The team's 20-inning scoreless streak, dating back to the eighth inning of Friday's win in Anaheim, came to an end when the Orioles pushed a run across in the bottom of the second inning.

-- With that run, the Orioles also brought an end to a scoreless streak pieced together by Red Sox starters. That stretch stood at 23 straight scoreless innings -- one from Beckett, six from Lester, and eight each from Matsuzaka and Lackey -- before Buchholz pitched a scoreless first Tuesday, upping the total to 24.

-- Tuesday also marked the first time since April 15 that a Red Sox starter had allowed more than two earned runs in a start. Back on April 15, the starter was also Buchholz.

Carl Crawford, who had multihit efforts in each of his last two games, was held hitless, going 0-for-4 . . . Adrian Gonzalez stroked his seventh double of the season to open the eighth. He leads the Red Sox in that department . . . Jed Lowrie, who had been the Sox' hottest hitter, was 0-for-4, marking just the third time this season that he'd been in the starting lineup and failed to record a base hit . . . David Ortiz was 1-for-2 with a walk off Britton, making him 9-for-25 (.360) against lefthanded pitching this season.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam
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