With the crowd still on its feet during a standing ovation, Lowell hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw after coming off the disabled list to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
“It was definitely more than I expected,” Lowell said of the Fenway Park crowd’s response. “I don’t remember too many ovations like that. I was glad I could come through as quickly as I did.”
But it was the return of Lowell that made his night.
“With him being one of my best friends in baseball, that was a great moment,” Beckett said.
The Red Sox won on the day they lost first baseman Kevin Youkilis(notes). He went on the 15-day disabled list with a torn muscle in his right thumb and was going to see a hand specialist, unsure whether he would need season-ending surgery.
“It’s a freak thing,” he said. “Zero athletes have had this that (the doctors) know. Similar things to it, but not exactly. I don’t know how it started.”
But the spirited Youkilis was on the field in the eighth inning when the benches emptied. A pitch by Indians reliever Jensen Lewis(notes) that sailed behind Adrian Beltre(notes) started things. Lewis, Indians third-base coach Steve Smith and Beckett were ejected.
“That’s part of the game. The players usually take care of their own thing and probably some of our guys probably felt that our best player was hit on purpose and they were probably trying to protect the guy,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “There’s no room in the game for any of that kind of stuff, but they usually work it out themselves. A lot of pushing and shoving, some tough guys trying to find other guys but nothing major.”
No punches were thrown, though Smith and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into a heated exchange.
Lowell, who had been on the DL since June 24 with a strained right hip, was expecting to be traded at the July 31 deadline or possibly released the last day or two before he was activated.
“It’s been an interesting road,” Francona said.
Beckett (3-1), making his third start after spending just over two months on the DL with a strained lower back, gave up a solo homer to Lou Marson(notes) and two singles, striking out eight and walking none.
David Huff(notes) (2-10), recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, gave up three runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out two in 5 1-3 innings. He was sent to the minors after losing to the Pirates on June 19.
“The pitches I wish that I can honestly take back would be the two home runs pitches,” said Huff, who faced Lowell when he was on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on July 24. “First pitch to Lowell was a fastball away that kind of cut back over the plate.”
Lewis then threw the first pitch of the inning behind Beltre. Home plate umpire Tim Welke got between Beltre and the mound and seemed to have things under control until Beckett led the Red Sox players out of their dugout, screaming and pointing.
NOTES: Ortiz’s second-inning infield hit extended his hitting streak to 12 games, his longest since 13 straight in July 2007. … Francona said Jacoby Ellsbury(notes), out since May 28 with fractured ribs, would be activated Wednesday. “He brings something to our lineup that we’ve been missing,” he said of the speedy outfielder. … The Indians put C Carlos Santana(notes) on the 15-day disabled list, a day after he was carried from the field on a stretcher following a collision at home plate Monday. He has a strained left knee.