Beckett leads Red Sox to 6-2 victory over Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP)—With another strong performance at Boston’s favorite home away from home, Josh Beckett became the first major leaguer to reach 15 wins.
His only regret was that he couldn’t finish what he started.
Beckett (15-5) allowed eight hits, struck out eight and walked none in 8 2-3 innings. He took a five-hitter into the ninth, but was lifted after Miguel Tejada hit a run-scoring single and Kevin Millar followed with an RBI double.
“It’s just frustrating that a couple of guys had to come into the game that didn’t have to,” Beckett lamented. “I didn’t want to do that. That’s where the frustration is for me. I was fortunate enough to get through eight innings.”
During those eight innings, however, he was outstanding. Before Tejada ruined the shutout, Beckett allowed only one runner past second base.
“I was mad at myself when I came out, but it’s hard to find anything really wrong with that game,” Beckett said. “They weren’t exactly crushing the ball in the ninth inning, either. I’m very happy with the way I pitched.”
The game drew an announced crowd of 49,242—the sixth-largest in the 16-year history of Camden Yards. Many of the fans were dressed in red and cheering for Boston.
“It feels like a home game here,” Boston catcher Jason Varitek said before the game. “They give us a spark that other teams can’t get when they’re on the road.”
Beckett, however, usually fares better away from Fenway Park. His gem against the Orioles improved his road numbers this season to 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA, and in three career starts at Camden Yards he is 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA.
Asked to explain his success on the road, Beckett shrugged and said, “I’m just executing pitches. That’s what it is.”
Beckett started the season with nine straight wins, but Boston manager Terry Francona couldn’t remember a time the right-hander pitched better.
“He was great today, but he’s had a lot of great efforts this year,” Francona said. “It’s hard to say if this was his best start, but he certainly was great.”
Baltimore barely kept alive its distinction as the only team in the majors that has not been blanked this season.
Jay Payton, who went 0-for-3 against Beckett, said, “He came right at us. He was just better than us today.”
Drew had three hits and Dustin Pedroia was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Red Sox, who went 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Pedroia is 18-for-38 (.474) in his last 10 games.
Baltimore’s Garrett Olson (1-1) gave up eight hits and four runs over 6 1-3 innings in his third big league start. He walked six and struck out six.
“Today I just ended up walking too many guys instead of going after everybody,” the rookie said. “I wasn’t too nervous; I felt pretty good out there, actually. I just didn’t have the fastball command and my curveball early on was kind of all over the place.”
Olson walked the first two batters he faced but escaped the first inning without damage. In the bottom half, singles by Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis put runners at the corners with one out before Beckett got Tejada to bounce into a double play.
In the second inning, the Red Sox again got the first two runners on base. This time, however, they didn’t waste the opportunity.
Varitek snapped a 1-for-17 skid with a leadoff single and went to third on a double by Drew. Two batters later, Lugo hit a two-run double inside the third-base line.
Boston made it 4-0 in the third. With one out, Manny Ramirez walked and Mike Lowell doubled before Olson issued an intentional walk to Varitek to load the bases for Drew, setting up a lefty vs. lefty situation. Drew turned the advantage in his favor, driving in two runs with an opposite-field single that dropped inches from the left-field line.
Olson settled down after that, but Boston extended the margin in the eighth against the Baltimore bullpen. Three walks by Paul Shuey loaded the bases for Pedroia, who hit an RBI single. Brian Burres then walked Kevin Youkilis, forcing in a run.
Orioles OF Jay Gibbons will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday. He has a torn labrum. … Drew has 11 RBIs in his last 19 games. … David Ortiz went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and is 2-for-17 over his last four games.