Beckett comes up aces in 4-1 win over Blue Jays

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Beckett comes up aces in 4-1 win over Blue Jays

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Josh Beckett threw his second straight strong start, as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. The win improves the Red Sox record to 3-10.

Beckett (2-1) went seven innings giving up one . The Blue Jays lone run off him came in the second inning, when Aaron Hill hit a one-out double and scored on Travis Sniders single to right field. After the second inning, Beckett allowed just three more base runners on a single and two walks with just one reaching second base.

The Red Sox jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning. Jed Lowrie, appearing in the lead-off spot for the first time in his career, singled to deep shortstop. In 13 games this season, Lowries single was the first hit the Red Sox have gotten by a lead-off batter in the first plate appearance of a game. Dustin Pedroia followed that with a walk, with Lowrie scoring on Adrian Gonzalezs single to center. Kevin Youkilis double to right scored Pedroia, for a 2-0 lead. After David Ortizs walk, the Red Sox had the bases loaded with no outs but could do no more damage in the inning against Jays lefty-hander Jo-Jo Reyes. Mike Cameron and Jason Varitek both struck out and Darnell McDonald ended the inning with a groundball to second.

In the second, Lowries first home run of the season, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury who opened the inning with a walk, put the Sox up 4-1.

Daniel Bard relieved Beckett in the eighth. John McDonald opened the inning with a lead-off single, but was thrown out attempting to steal second, Jason Varitek connecting with Dustin Pedroia. It was the third time this season Red Sox catchers have thrown out a runner in 19 attempts. Bard then struck out Yunel Escobar and got Corey Patterson to ground out to Gonzalez.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth. With two outs Aaron Hill reached base on Kevin Youkilis' error and advanced to third on defensive indifference. But, Papelbon got Travis Snider to fly out to Mike Cameron in left, giving the Red Sox their third win of the season.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

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Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

BOSTON - Maybe it wasn't a warning shot, but more of an idle observation. Maybe it wasn't a challenge at all.

But what John Farrell had to say Sunday afternoon about Clay Buchholz was, if nothing else, noteworthy.

In assessing his team's play in the just-completed first month of the season, Farrell noted that the starting rotation, after a particularly rough beginning, had stabilized of late.

With one exception, that is.

"We've got to get Clay going, particularly," Farrell said. "He's an important part of our rotation, an important part of this team. We've got to get him on track." Buchholz is winless in his five starts, with an 0-3 mark and an inflated ERA of 6.51. He's given up a minimum of five earned runs in each start and has yet to pitch through the seventh inning.

Farrell noted that the issue has been less about quality of stuff and more about his aggressiveness - or lack thereof.

"There are times,'' Farrell said, "when we've seen Clay execute pitches with, I think, a greater conviction to the pitch. There are other times where maybe he's pitched away from contact a little bit too much and not attacked the strike zone. To me, there comes an attitude on the mound that's got to be prevailing."

The Sox aren't far from welcoming back to starters. Eduardo Rodriguez, who tweaked his knee in early March, is set to make his second rehab start for Pawtucket Tuesday and could conceivably return five days after that. At most, Rodriguez will be ready with one more additional outing.

Next up is Joe Kelly, who is on the DL with a shoulder impingement. Kelly has thrown some bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment later in the week.

That will lead to the Sox making some tough decisions in the coming weeks. It had been widely assumed that knuckleballer Steven Wright would be he most vulnerable starter, but Wright is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA in four outings.

Asked to assess where the Sox within the context of the division, Farrell said: "We're probably searching to shore up areas that are in need, and that first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster now. Not that we're going to make wholesale changes. Like I said, we've got to get Clay going. That's a big improvement that we could make."

 

AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

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AL East picture through April: Red Sox better than expected

BOSTON -- With the first month of the season at coming to a close, Boston finds itself half a game behind Baltimore for first place and 2.5 games ahead of the third place Rays.

With the question marks surrounding the pitching staff behind David Price entering the season, among other issues, the Red Sox are in a much better position than initially expected.

John Farrell credits much of the early success to his potent offense.

“[We] finished better than we started I think the biggest thing is that guys in our lineup have developed that trust in one another,” he said. “There [are] some elements to our offense that’ve been very encouraging. The all-field approach and the way we’ve run the bases [have] been very consistent.”

It’s undeniable that the newfound consistency to the pitching staff has been a huge help -- although Farrell did note Clay Buchholz needs to get the ball rolling.

“The last two turns through the rotation has been more consistent. We’ve been able to give our guys in the bullpen a little bit more regular rest,” Farrell said. “I like the fact that we’ve added to the depth of power arms in our bullpen. We still have room for improvement we know that.

Entering the final game of the opening series against New York, the Red Sox and the Orioles are the only AL East teams with winning records against their inter-division rivals.

Even though they’ve performed better than anticipated, a case can be made that the Red Sox should sit in first place.

Tampa Bay shut them out in the opener, and won the final game of the series that was powered by a rare David Price implosion.

Toronto won the final two games of the second season series by the skin of its teeth, narrowly avoiding Red Sox comebacks in the ninth inning of each game.

Baltimore won the first game of its opening series in Boston thanks to a ninth inning home run.

New York has one game left before both teams leave town and, weather permitting, Boston has a chance to start May off properly -- by disposing of the only team in the AL East stuck with single digit wins.

With the ups and downs for the five AL East teams, Farrell doesn’t expect there will be disparity in the division.

“Every team has got their strengths,” he said. “We don’t expect this to be a huge separation among any of the five teams here. We’re all probably searching to sure up areas that we’re in need of. That first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster right now. Not that we’re going to make wholesale changes.”