Josh Beckett Dominates Mariners Long Enough for Red Sox Offense to Pick Him Up, Reward Him With Win


Jul 24, 2011

Josh Beckett Dominates Mariners Long Enough for Red Sox Offense to Pick Him Up, Reward Him With Win BOSTON — For Josh Beckett, there wasn't much he could do but forge ahead, inning by inning.

With each zero Beckett put on the board Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners, his teammates continued their run of futility in his support. By the time the sixth inning was complete, he had thrown 14 straight scoreless innings over his last two starts. In that same stretch, his teammates had scored the same number of runs as Beckett’s opponents — zero.

In fact, Beckett did not have a run scored for him for 18 straight innings at that point. But because he has been so good, the team has been able to survive. It has won seven of the last eight games started by Beckett, rallying behind the righty for a 3-1 victory over the Mariners.

"Because of the way Beckett pitched it gave us a chance to have meaningful runs late," said manager Terry Francona, who also picked up career win No. 1,000 in the process.

Beckett, who threw eight scoreless innings in the 16-inning, 1-0 win in Tampa on Sunday, saw his scoreless streak snapped when he gave up a solo homer to Mariners left fielder Mike Carp to begin the seventh. Just like that, the guy who entered with the second-lowest ERA in the majors and had done nothing but lower it, was on the wrong side of the score against the worst offense in baseball.

Whether his team scored or not, the mindset never changed.

"I try not to worry too much about it," he said of his lack of run support from the best offense in baseball. "We’re going to score runs. I just happen to be matched up with some guys who are pitching pretty well the last few times out.”

On Saturday, it was Seattle rookie Blake Beavan, who matched Beckett through the first six. However, moments after Beckett served up the solo shot to Carp, Beavan hit the wall. A two-out single by Jason Varitek in the bottom half of the seventh ignited a three-run rally that gave Boston all that it would need.

Daniel Bard flirted with disaster before throwing a scoreless eighth, Jonathan Papelbon worked around a hit in the ninth and Beckett picked up his ninth win, despite another limited show of support. The Red Sox, who entered the night averaging a major league-high 5.42 runs per game, have scored four runs or less in 15 of Beckett’s 19 starts.

While the odd lack of support has been a constant, so too has Beckett’s dominance. His ERA of 2.07 is the fourth-best by a Boston starter through the team's first 98 games, trailing only Pedro Martinez (2000), Tim Wakefield (1995) and Tex Hughson (1943).

"He was tremendous," Francona added. "He's been like that every game, and he had to be that good because their guy was good tonight."

In five days, Beckett will pitch in the finale of the homestand against the Kansas City Royals. Luke Hochevar goes for the Royals in that one. If recent history is any indication, Hochevar will dominate, but because of Beckett’s effort, the Red Sox will find a way to come out on top.

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