Teammates back then, Beckett and Pauley were part of a day-night split that saw the Red Sox and Texas Rangers combine for 28 runs on 53 hits in nearly seven hours of baseball.
Beckett got a no-decision after throwing 5 1/3 so-so innings in the opener, won in walk-off fashion by David Ortiz. Pauley was the loser in the nightcap, giving up six runs on 12 hits in five innings and getting sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game.
Beckett was a bit better than Pauley that day. The same could be said for Wednesday, when the two were once again featured players in a Fenway Park twinbill, this time on opposite sides of a 5-3 Red Sox win.
On both ends, it was a matter of a solid opening, followed by a rough finish. For Beckett, a noted self-critic who carried a shutout into the seventh before giving up three runs in a matter of moments, the way it ended stayed with him.
"If I can pitch like I did in the first six innings, yeah," Beckett said, when asked if he has a good stretch run in him. "If I pitch like I did in the seventh inning, probably not."
Indeed, it was another Jekyll and Hyde start for Beckett, who fell apart in the sixth inning of his previous outing after throwing five scoreless.
Early on, however, the former teammates were locked in quite a duel.
While Pauley retired the first nine men he faced and allowed just two hits through five scoreless innings, Beckett faced the minimum number of batters until a two-out walk in the sixth. The Red Sox’ righty then struck out Ichiro Suzuki to end that frame and opened the seventh by fanning Chone Figgins, Beckett’s seventh K of the afternoon.
A home run, single and home run pulled the Mariners within a run (the Red Sox scored four off a tiring Pauley in the bottom of the sixth), and in a flash, Beckett’s day went from a beautiful one to another that caused him to wonder what he would take into his next start.
"I don’t know," he said, when asked whether he had momentum or not. "That’s a good question."
Boston manager Terry Francona, who normally goes to great lengths to praise his players, was also left with a mixed reaction.
"A little bit similar to where it happened before where it happened pretty quick, but it was pretty good," Francona said. "Seems like he’s giving them up quickly.
"The biggest inning of every game, after you score, you want to put up a zero. So we got to do a better job of that. But we’re also sitting on a win."
Beckett went 0-2 with a 10.69 ERA in his previous three starts but has quietly produced a zero in 11 of the 14 innings in which he has pitched on this homestand. Unfortunately, he has given up nine runs in the other three as he has struggled to stop the bleeding.
Although he was very good for much of Wednesday’s outing, Beckett seemed to focus on those negatives. The one positive he and the Red Sox could take from Wednesday, especially when every game means so much, is this: Beckett was on the winning end of things while Pauley was not.
Just like June 11, 2006.