Notes: Beckett solid, but not good enough

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Notes: Beckett solid, but not good enough

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

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

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First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:

 

* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.

 

* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.

 

* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.

     

 

 

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP