Tempers Flare As Josh Beckett Pitches Red Sox to Win


Tempers Flare As Josh Beckett Pitches Red Sox to Win BOSTON — Mike Lowell didn't take long to satisfy the fans that were happy to see him back.

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."

Josh Beckett dominated for eight
innings, holding Cleveland to one run on three hits, then got in the
middle of a benches-clearing melee.

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. 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 that sailed behind Adrian Beltre 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.

Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo was on the
ground for a while after getting hit by a pitch in the knee in the
third. He got up, trotted to first and stole second on the next pitch.

Bill Hall added a solo homer for Boston.

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

"It's been an interesting road," Francona said.

Lowell also made a nice stab on Trevor Crowe's hard grounder to first base in the fifth and dove to the bag for the out.

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 and two singles, striking out
eight and walking none.

Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth
for his 25th save, becoming the first pitcher in major league history
with 25 saves in each of his first five full seasons.

David Huff (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."

Indians reliever Justin Germano threw
a pitch behind David Ortiz in the seventh inning. Ortiz took a slight
glance out to the mound and Beckett was on the top step staring out.

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.

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, 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 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.

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