Red Sox 2, Angels 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Josh Beckett had been awful in August, especially in his last start.
He was a completely different pitcher against the Los Angeles Angels.
Beckett rebounded from one of the worst outings of his career to pitch six strong innings, David Ortiz hit his 46th homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Angels 2-1 Thursday night to hand rookie Jered Weaver his first loss.
Beckett entered with an 0-3 record in four starts this month, having allowed 30 hits and 23 earned runs in 23 2-3 innings. In his previous outing, he walked nine and gave up nine earned runs—both career highs—in a 13-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
Beckett (14-8) blanked the Angels on four hits before leaving in the seventh because of a small cut on his right middle finger.
“I think a lot of things to into it, the way you feel that day,” the 26-year-old right-hander said regarding the difference between his performance against the Yankees and his outing against the Angels. “I don’t think you can pinpoint one thing.”
Catcher Doug Mirabelli could, pointing to the consistency with which Beckett threw strikes against the Angels. Beckett didn’t walk a batter and needed only 62 pitches to get through the first six innings.
“He threw strikes,” Mirabelli said. “He should be able to go out and dominate hitters. When he falls behind, the hitters look for fastballs.
“I could definitely see the look in his eyes, that he was going to throw strikes.”
Weaver (9-1) was trying to become the third pitcher in big-league history to win his first 10 decisions as a starter, joining Hooks Wiltse of the 1904 New York Giants (12-0) and Kirk Reuter of the 1993-94 Montreal Expos (10-0).
Weaver and Whitey Ford of the 1950 New York Yankees share the AL record by beginning their respective careers with nine straight wins as starters.
Weaver pitched very well, but left trailing 1-0 after allowing four hits including the homer by Ortiz in six innings. The 23-year-old right-hander walked one, struck out six and threw 107 pitches while lowering his ERA to 1.92.
“I wasn’t worried about the streak,” he said. “It’s all about going out there and competing and trying to give our team a chance to win the game. I’ve been having good hitting and good defense behind me in my last 12 starts or so, but I ran into a good pitcher. Beckett was on his `A’ game tonight.”
“It would have been nice to go 10-0, but some things don’t work out sometimes.”
Beckett said he first noticed the cut while he was warming up before the seventh.
“I don’t know if it was one pitch or it was gradually happening,” he said. “You almost feel helpless because you can’t throw strikes. It’s bittersweet because we won, I’m happy about that. We’ve got to reassess it tomorrow, I’m going to stay optimistic about it.”
Timlin threw two more balls to Rivera, with the walk charged to Beckett. After a wild pitch put runners at second and third, Howie Kendrick singled to left to drive in Anderson, but Wily Mo Pena threw Rivera out at the plate.
Timlin retired the next two batters to end the seventh, and the first two batters in the eighth before being replaced by Jonathan Papelbon, who got the final four outs for his 34th save in 40 chances.
The win was the second straight for the Red Sox following a six-game losing streak. They trail the AL East-leading Yankees by 5 1/2 games. The Angels lost their second in a row after a five-game winning streak, and fell 5 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Oakland.
The Red Sox played without slugger Manny Ramirez, sidelined with a sore right knee. An MRI taken Thursday morning showed no structural damage.
Ortiz opened the fourth by hitting a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence. He leads the majors with his 46 homers and 120 RBIs.
Ortiz confirmed an Internet report that he spent last Saturday night at Massachusetts General Hospital while an irregular heartbeat was monitored, but he didn’t miss any playing time. Ortiz told the Boston Herald that he began experiencing a rapid heartbeat Friday night after the Red Sox dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the Yankees at Fenway Park. When the problem persisted into Saturday, he went to the hospital. … Weaver won his final five decisions at Triple-A Salt Lake, meaning he had a 14-game winning streak snapped. … The Red Sox played errorless ball—no surprise considering their 45 errors were 12 fewer than any other big-league team entering play Thursday. … The Angels recalled INF Erick Aybar from Triple-A Salt Lake after the game and optioned RHP Greg Jones to the same team.