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Beckett leaves with back injury in Red Sox's rain-shortened win

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- A rain-shortened comeback win against the reigning American League MVP, and suddenly the Boston Red Sox have a little streak going.

Just when fans wanted Josh Beckett and others gone at the trade deadline, the Red Sox are making a slight charge.

The Red Sox took advantage of a subpar night by reigning MVP Justin Verlander, beating the Detroit Tigers 4-1 Tuesday in a game called in the sixth inning. It was Boston's fourth consecutive victory.

On the non-waiver trading deadline day, the Red Sox made a few minor moves, but they showed they may be ready to make a run in the AL East.

None of the big names are gone. It's a chance for Boston to prove what was expected in the preseason.

"I'm excited about what we have," outfielder Cody Ross said in a quiet clubhouse.

Boston did lose Beckett, though, when he had to leave in the third inning with what the team called a back spasm.

Verlander had his streak of pitching at least six innings halted at 63 straight starts. It was the longest such streak since Steve Carlton had a 69-start run from September 1979 to April 1982. It was also the longest by a Tigers pitcher since at least 1918.

The game was played in a light, steady rain from nearly the start and finally was delayed when the Tigers loaded the bases in the sixth. The game was called after a delay of 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Franklin Morales had just walked Jhonny Peralta, with the last three pitches missing badly before crew chief Jerry Layne called for the tarp. Morales did get an out in the inning, and he was credited with a save, his first with the Red Sox.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland had no problem with the decision to call it or even halt it when Detroit was rallying.

"The weather didn't co-operate all tonight. That's the way it goes," he said. "At some point umpires have to make a call. It's a tough call. We had the bases loaded, you get excited. But we put ourselves in that spot. He gave it a good shot to try and get it in.

"From what I heard,. It wasn't going to stop until 1, 1:30. It's a tough call. He made the call. We respect it."

Boston took the lead with a four-run fourth, using a pair of walks and an infield hit to spark its rally.

Clayton Mortensen (1-0) got the win for Boston, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Verlander (11-7) gave up four runs, three earned in five innings, walking four and fanning six.

"Once I tried to start throwing a little bit harder, naturally your stride gets a little bit longer so I started landing in an area that I wasn't landing in before, so I think I started slipping a little bit," Verlander said.

The Tigers have lost five of six games.

Trailing 1-0, the Red Sox scored four runs off Verlander in the fourth inning. They loaded the bases on singles by Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Kelly Shoppach walked. Pedro Ciriaco tied it with a single to right. Jacoby Ellsbury then drew a bases-loaded walk before Carl Crawford hit a slow roller past Verlander that second baseman Omar Infante couldn't bare hand. The ball rolled behind him to short right, allowing Ciriaco to also score from second to make it 4-1.

Crawford got one RBI on the play, and Infante was charged with an error for the second run scoring.

As for Beckett, he was enjoying his best start in a while before he got hurt.

"Locked up on me. I've had this before, it's been worse," he said of his back. "It wasn't getting any better."

Beckett did experience something new with the trade rumors the past few days.

"I definitely had three hours to calm my mind," he said of the deadline that passed at 4 p.m. EDT. "It was definitely something different for me. I've never been through it."

He entered the game with a 10.06 ERA in first innings this year, but he retired the first eight batters he faced before Infante beat out a slow grounder to short. Beckett hit the next batter, Austin Jackson, then walked the following two, forcing in a run. On ball four to Miguel Cabrera, he waved to the dugout a couple of times with his glove. A trainer and manager Bobby Valentine came out, and he walked off the mound to a few boos.

Mortensen relieved, and Prince Fielder hit a long foul ball on the first pitch before flying out to end the inning.

Earlier in the day, the Red Sox acquired lefty reliever Craig Breslow from Arizona for reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik. The Red Sox also dealt minor league first baseman Lars Anderson to Cleveland for minor league pitcher Steven Wright.

"We've been looking for another lefty. We felt like early in the year when we had three lefties in the 'pen, our 'pen was really rolling the best," Boston general manager Ben Cherington said. "It gives Bobby (Valentine) a chance to match up and use all three guys. It certainly helps to give Bobby some flexibility the rest of the year if we want to use Morales as a starter. Hopefully a couple of good benefits for the move."

But it also was far from the big deals that were rumored the past few days, mainly involving Beckett.

"We worked hard the past few days on a 1,000 different concepts," Cherington said. "In the end we would rather not make decisions that would have ended up hurting us in the long run. Most importantly, we're happy with the guys we have here and we believe in the group."

NOTES: The Red Sox placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured knuckle on the pinkie of his left hand. He injured it punching a door after his eighth inning groundout in Boston's 7-3 win Monday. He tweeted an apology to the fans and his teammates Monday morning. Valentine and Cherington both said Sweeney likely is out for the remainder of the regular season. "Boys will be boys," Valentine said before the game. "The door he happened to hit was dented. It wasn't the first time someone did that." To take his place on the roster, outfielder Ryan Kalish was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Mortensen was called up before the game to replace right-hander Matt Albers, with Breslow not yet reporting to the team. ... Valentine also said shortstop Mike Aviles, who missed his third straight game with turf toe, had an injection and they "hope it will alleviate it." ... Verlander needed 35 pitches to get out of the first inning. ... Adrian Gonzalez walked in the first inning, his first walk since June 24. ... Red Sox right-hander Scott Atchison is going to get a second opinion on an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He might need Tommy John surgery.
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