Notes: Beckett solid, but not good enough

Notes: Beckett solid, but not good enough
May 30, 2011, 5:15 am
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By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT The Red Sox' five-game winning streak ended when they ran into a Justin Verlander Sunday night in the finale of their seven-game road trip.

"Long day Saturday, long day Sunday today for guys, said Jason Varitek. We just ran into a little buzzsaw."

The buzzsaws name on Sunday was Verlander. But for much of the season, Josh Beckett has been that buzzsaw for the Red Sox, carving up opponents.

Sunday against the Tigers, he went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a season-high five walk, with five strikeouts. His outing was good, but against Verlander, it needed to be better than good.

Beckett gave up as many runs in the first inning, two, as he has in his last five outings combined, spanning 30 innings. After the first, he allowed just two runners Danny Worth after a second-inning walk, and Victor Martinez after a third-inning single to advance as far as second base.

But by that time, Verlander had all the cushion he would need.

"You just can't stake that guy the lead like that," said Beckett. "If it's one run, it's one thing. He's tough enough without you staking him to a couple runs."

Beckett faced seven batters in the first inning, throwing 26 pitches. He opened the game by striking out Austin Jackson before allowing the next four batters to reach base. Andy Dirks walked and scored on Brennan Boeschs double to right. Boesch then scored on Miguel Cabreras single to right. It was Cabreras first career hit off Beckett. Victor Martinez, who went 3-for-3 against Beckett, singled to right before Beckett could retire Don Kelly on a fly ball to Carl Crawford in left and Alex Avila on a called strike, on a curveball.

He was up with some pitches, manager Terry Francona said. "To his credit, after that, he really settled down and battled. I thought part of the night he was rushing a little bit and getting under some pitches. But he never gave in and he never gave up any more runs. He gave us a chance. Verlander had a lot to say about the outcome tonight."

Verlander threw a career-high 132 pitches. His final pitch, walking Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs in the eighth, was a 100-mph fastball.

He had everything -- velocity, breaking ball, changeup," Francona said. "He got up in the pitch count and he started throwing harder. Obviously, he's earned their trust, as he should. He's one of the best pitchers in the league."

On most nights, against most pitchers, Beckett might have come away with the win. Matched up with a buzzsaw, though, he was cut down.

"He's impressive, Beckett said. He's good.

Jason Varitek recorded his 300th career double in the sixth inning. He is the sixth catcher in AL history with at least 150 homers and 300 doubles.

Rich Hill threw a perfect seventh inning, striking out Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks. He has now thrown 12 scoreless innings over his 14 appearances since his first appearance with the Sox on Sept. 14, 2010. The 14 scoreless outings are the most to start a Sox career since at least 1919, passing the previous mark of 13 (15.0 IP) by Ramon Ramirez in 2009. Hills 12 scoreless innings are also the most to start a career with the Sox since Ramirez in 2009.

In his last four starts against the Red Sox, spanning 30 23 innings, Verlander has allowed just six earned runs, for a 1.76 ERA.

Miguel Cabreras first-inning single was his first career hit off Beckett.

The Sox were shutout for the fifth time this season.

The game was delayed at the start for 50 minutes because of rain.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen