Postgame, Red Sox 3-1: It was rather typical Terry Francona after his 1,000th win, deflecting praise onto the players.
Still, he admitted to at least a passing thought of the milestone.
“Yeah, I guess. It felt good,” he said when asked if it was nice to reach the mark.
Later, Francona went on.
“I don’t think it’s that big a deal. I really don’t. It’s really not that big a deal. I’m appreciative of the opportunity I have, because I really caught a break. This is a great organaiztion with a lot of really good players, and I’m really fortunate. Other than that, I’d like to keep the spotlight on the players.”
And those players, particularly the pitchers, performed very well. Josh Beckett goes seven strong, Daniel Bard keeps his scoreless streak alive after working out of a jam and Jonathan Papelbon does his job in the ninth.
With that, the attention turns to Sunday, where Boston will go for the sweep and Tim Wakefield will aim for career win No. 199. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.
Final, Red Sox 3-1: Terry Francona is congratulating his players, and getting congratulations of his own after he wraps up career win No. 1,000.
It came with some tense moments in the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon gave up a leadoff single on a ball that Jacoby Ellsbury nearly had in center.
One out later, Brendan Ryan smacked one down the line that had some thinking two-run homer before it fell short and foul.
Papelbon came back to get Ryan on a little looper to second and then struck out Dustin Ackley to end it and pick up his 23rd save.
Back in a bit to wrap it up for you.
End 8th, Red Sox 3-1: Boston goes quietly in the eighth. It is now three outs away from giving Terry Francona his 1,000th career win.
Here comes Jonathan Papelbon.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-1: Lots to digest after the top of the eighth.
First things first, Daniel Bard’s scoreless streak is now at 24 innings, but it did not come without loads of drama.
A walk and a single to lead off the inning gave the Mariners an immediate threat. Adam Kennedy then dropped down a bunt that Bard jumped on and fired to third.
Problem is, Kevin Youkilis had started to charge and had to retreat to take the throw. Replays are iffy, but third base umpire Eric Cooper ruled that Youkilis did not get his foot on the bag. It was weird. Youkilis probably could’ve made it all the way back but he took the throw and sort of went for a swipe tag while also probing with his left foot for the bag.
In any event, the Mariners had the bases loaded and no outs, a recipe for runs. But these are the Mariners and they were facing Bard, who got one out on a shallow pop to left, another on a brilliant strikeout of Jack Cust (followed a 98 mph heater with an 83 mph slider that froze Cust) and a grounder to Youkilis.
Bard’s scoreless streak is the longest for a Red Sox reliever since Bob Stanley had 27 1/3 in 1980.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-1: The Red Sox waited nearly seven full innings before grinding out two runs to take the lead. Then the Mariners gifted them another.
A wild pitch by Aaron Laffey allows Jacoby Ellsbury to score from third.
We could say that the run was huge, but Daniel Bard is coming in. He hasn’t allowed a run in nearly two months, his scoreless streak now at 23 innings as he begins the eighth.
The rally in the seventh puts Josh Beckett in line for what would be his ninth win of the year.
9:44 p.m.: David Pauley’s night lasted as long as one hitter. That hitter, Dustin Pedroia knocked a single into center to extend the inning.
Lefty Aaron Laffey is being brought in to face Adrian Gonzalez with two outs and runners on the corners.
9:40 p.m.: A moron down the line likely cost the Red Sox a run, but Jacoby Ellsbury made that fan’s stupidity a non-issue (at least at the park…we can’t speak for his life at home).
After Jason Varitek singled with two outs, Marco Scutaro dropped one down the line in right. The fan reached out and grabbed the ball, but it was going to hit the wall and bounce around, which would’ve probably allowed Varitek to score.
Instead, Varitek is force to hold up at third as this fan holds the ball up like he accomplished something great. Ellsbury follows by smacking a two-run single to center.
That does it for Blake Beavan. Great effort by the kid, but you can’t get through the Sox in the seventh. They have now outscored opponents 92-33 in this frame.
David Pauley is on to face Dustin Pedroia.
Mid 7th, Mariners 1-0: I’m not the senior member of this press box. Not even close. I’m only 14. But I’ve been around enough, and seen enough games to know a mismatch when I see it, and this game had Red Sox win written all over it.
The man with the second-lowest ERA in the majors, coming off a scoreless outing in Tampa, pitching at home against a 22-year-old rookie making his fourth major league start and backed by the worst offense in baseball by a wide margin.
And yet, here we are at the stretch with the Mariners ahead.
Seattle has Mike Carp to thank for that. He launched a 3-2 cutter from Beckett into the Red Sox bullpen in right to snap the scoreless tie.
That was the sixth pitch of what amounted to a 31-pitch inning for Beckett. Franklin Gutierrez singled with one out, stole second and moved to third on a grounder to Dustin Pedroia.
With Randy Williams ready in the bullpen, Beckett walked Ichiro Suzuki and then got saved the mid-inning exit when Kevin Youkilis made a great diving stop to get Brendan Ryan, throwing as he got to his knees. Williams was going to come in for Dustin Ackley, who was on deck. He may still do so to begin the eighth. Beckett is done at 118 pitches.
No worries, Red Sox fans. Boston also bats in the seventh, and it does it well.
End 6th, 0-0: We’ve noted many times how cerebral Adrian Gonzalez is in his approach to the game, perhaps as much as any player on the team.
Not so sure one of his decisions in the sixth was the best.
Gonzalez doubled with one out in the inning, his first extra-base hit since July 10. Kevin Youkilis followed with a grounder to third, on which Gonzalez broke to third.
He must’ve thought that there was no chance Adam Kennedy was not going to throw to first for the out, but Gonzalez went so far that Kennedy almost had no choice but to tag him. Gonzalez just ran into the out. Strange.
It probably didn’t matter because David Ortiz flew to left to end the inning, but not something you see every day over here.
Blake Beavan is at just 79 pitches. Boston is 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Mid 6th, 0-0: Great job of Josh Beckett to wiggle out of a mess for the first time tonight.
Beckett gave up singles to Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan to begin the sixth.
A grounder to second by Dustin Ackley had 4-6-3 written all over it, but it was hit rather softly and Ryan did a good job of going into second on the outfield side of the bag. Those two elements caused Pedroia to look to second but decide against the throw. He got Ackley at first, but Beckett was in a bind — two men in scoring position, one out.
No worries. Beckett is on an absolute roll, and it continues when he fans Justin Smoak and then gets Adam Kennedy to pop to second.
End 5th, 0-0: The Red Sox are hitting some balls on the nose here, but don’t have anything to show for it.
A liner to second off the bat of Jason Varitek is the second out of the fifth. The third, after a single by Marco Scutaro, is a screamer to left hit by Jacoby Ellsbury. It falls into the glove of Mike Carp.
The Ellsbury at-bat began the lineup’s third look at Blake Beavan. Perhaps the Sox will break through soon.
Beavan has thrown 90, 98 and 104 pitches in his three major league starts. He’s at 67 through five.
Mid 5th, 0-0: Our own Mike Cole offers up the timely reminder that during Josh Beckett’s 13-inning scoreless streak, he has seen zero runs of support.
You all remember the 16-inning affair in Tampa, which began with Beckett tossing eight scoreless.
Beckett entered ranked 19th in the AL in terms of lowest run support average, but that is somewhat skewed by a few offensive outbursts. The club has scored four runs or less in 14 of his 18 starts.
But the righty keeps on keepin’ on. He just struck out two in a perfect fifth, running his strikeout total to five.
End 4th, 0-0: That’s a five-pitch inning for Blake Beavan. Liner to second. Fly to center. Chopper to first.
Beavan has been Josh Beckett’s equal so far. He has yet to walk a man and has thrown six fewer pitches (61-55).
Mid 4th, 0-0: Dustin Ackley is 2-for-2 against Josh Beckett. The rest of the Mariners are 1-for-13.
Seattle is also now batting .173 (61-for-352) with two outs and runners in scoring position after stranding a man on third in the fourth.
Ackley was erased on a fielder’s choice. A wild pitch moved Justin Smoak to second, a grounder moved him to third and then Beckett escaped on a chopper to Dustin Pedroia.
End 3rd, 0-0: You might remember that the Red Sox wasted a lot of scoring chances last night before breaking out in the seventh inning. They had four double plays in the early innings.
There’s been one DP so far, an unconventional one to end the second, and several opportunities have gone by the board.
Jacoby Ellsbury reached second on a single and an error by left fielder Mike Carp with one out in the third. He moved to third on Dustin Pedroia’s grounder to short (great play by Brendan Ryan to range left and then nip a sliding Pedroia at first). Adrian Gonzalez then flew to Carp to end it.
Boston is already 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, the one hit obviously failing to score a run.
On the Pedroia dive at first, it’s interesting to note that Terry Francona talked about that earlier today.
“It shows how bad a guy wants a hit and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s not faster to get there, we know that, but sometimes you want it so bad you just leave your feet.”
Francona hinted that in the minors, players are docked cash if they try it as a deterrent.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: A nice, easy inning for Josh Beckett. Three rather lazy outs in the air get him into the dugout in a span of 11 pitches.
Beckett’s scoreless streak is now at 11 innings. He has put a zero on the board in 18 of his last 19 innings.
End 2nd, 0-0: As the ball off the bat of Jason Varitek was descending toward a charging Franklin Gutierrez in shallow-ish center field, the prevailing thought was that David Ortiz would not be tagging up at third.
It was hard to envision him having a chance, especially with Gutierrez, a very good center fielder with a good arm, on the snag. But with the catch being the second out in the inning, perhaps Ortiz, or Tim Bogar, figured it was worth the risk.
Ortiz, who doubled to start the inning and moved to third on Carl Crawford’s single, was out at the plate. A throw on the line by Gutierrez was a tad up the line, but Josh Bard was able to come back and get Ortiz as he slid by.
If Blake Beavan is going to live up to his first-round status one day, it will be innings like the second that aided in the process of growing up. He had runners at the corners and no outs, and the speedy Crawford at first.
Not only did Beavan managed to keep Crawford close, he escaped unharmed with fly outs off the bat of Josh Reddick and Varitek on the front end of the inning-ending DP.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: When Josh Beckett got the first two outs and entered the extremely limited back end of the Seattle lineup, he figured to have a quick inning on his hands.
As Lee Corso would say, shoving a pencil at a national television audience, “Not so fast!”
Jack Cust roped a double down the line in right, a line shot that bounced fair by a few feet before hopping into the stands.
Then, the .183-hitting Franklin Gutierrez put the man who entered with the second-lowest ERA in the majors through the ringer.
Gutierrez fouled off a total of six pitches in an 11-pitch battle with Beckett. It resulted in a strikeout, Beckett’s third, but give Gutierrez some credit for making the righty work.
Beckett is up to 39 pitches because of it.
End 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia did not waste any time in extending his hitting streak to 20 games. He doubled down the left-field line on the second pitch he saw from big Blake Beavan.
Give Beavan some credit. The 22-year-old then struck out Adrian Gonzalez swinging on a slider and Kevin Youkilis looking on a fastball.
Youkilis threw his bat, then his helmet and then his elbow pad in disgust. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons was watching him very closely.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan had gone 158 games without a home run dating to last season before connecting Tuesday in Toronto. (Good band name…Tuesday in Toronto.)
Ryan made a bid for his second in just five games when he hammered Josh Beckett’s eighth pitch of the game down the left-field line. Unfortunately for the light-hitting Ryan, it was foul, he was soon a strikeout victim and he may need to wait 158 more games.
Beckett did allow a single to the next man, Dustin Ackley, before finishing off the M’s in the first with an easy pop to short.
7:11 p.m.: Josh Beckett’s first pitch to Ichiro Suzuki is a ball. Temperature is 90 degrees.
6:18 p.m.: With a loss tonight, the Mariners will match a franchise record 14-game losing streak.
It’s interesting to note a few aspects of the slide they had in Sept. 1992. It actually began with a loss to Boston, and on the mound for the Sox that night was another right-hander from Texas, Roger Clemens.
Clemens went the distance and Wade Boggs hit a tie-breaking two-run double in the seventh to give Boston a 5-3 win in the Kingdome.
Clemens threw 130 pitches in that game in improving to 17-8.
Seattle’s 14th and final loss in that run of misery came at the hands of Oakland, with former Red Sox great and eventual Hall of Famer (and NESN’s own) Dennis Eckersley getting the save for the A’s.
The M’s scored just 41 runs in those 14 losses. They have only 32 through the first 13 games of this current slide.
So there you go. Just found some of that to be interesting.
5:36 p.m.: Three of the nine guys in the starting lineup for Seattle have never faced Josh Beckett. The other six probably wish they never had. He is 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA against the Mariners since joining the Red Sox in 2006.
Seattle’s batting order is a combined 11-for-58 (.190) with 17 strikeouts and just one home run against Beckett. Take a look at the lineup that the right-hander may slice through tonight:
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Justin Smoak, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Mike Carp, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Josh Bard, C
4:34 p.m.: As the Red Sox take batting practice in steamy conditions, a few nuggets to pass on to you.
Clay Buchholz had a “light catch” today and is on target to throw a session from the mound Monday.
Terry Francona said that it’s likely Buchholz is going to feel something in his back for the rest of the year. It’s just a matter of getting to a point where the soreness is manageable. As it is, Buchholz doesn’t feel anything while throwing. If he can reach a point where the soreness he has after the fact does not prevent him from doing his between-start work, then he will be able to return.
“I think we feel like this will work,” Francona said.
The manager stressed that Buchholz looks great when he throws. It’s just that period of time after each session that becomes an issue.
In other injury-related news, Jed Lowrie’s timetable for return remains fuzzy, but at least there is a rough schedule in place.
Lowrie has been hitting off a tee for less than a week. He figures to do that for a few more days, then move to soft toss for a week and finally batting practice for a week. That is every rough, but it could put Lowrie on a rehab assignment by mid-August.
If you hadn’t heard, Francona is seeking his 1,000th career win tonight. Look for more on the site in a bit on that.
3:18 p.m.: A rather typical lineup for Terry Francona’s crew against the rookie Blake Beavan. Have a look:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Beavan is a big righty, listed at 6-7, 240. Like Josh Beckett, he’s also from Texas, so heat won’t be an issue for these horses.
Beavan throws a lot of faastballs, but it isn’t blazing, usually topping out in the low-90s. He mixes in a changeup rather often and also incorporates a slider and curveball. Nothing awe-inspiring. The former first-round pick is not a huge strikeout pitcher and will give up his share of hits. It’s a matter of locating that heater and getting the type of contact that Seattle’s defense can handle.
3:04 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where a few Mariners are throwing a football around in left field.
At this rate, it might not be a bad idea to try a few other sports. The Mariners are one loss away from matching the franchise record for consecutive defeats at 14, and they have to try to avoid that fate against Josh Beckett.
Lineups are being posted in a moment. Back soon with all that jazz.
8 a.m.: Despite another display of dominance, Josh Beckett was nothing more than a footnote after his last start.
Beckett threw eight shutout innings in the game against Tampa Bay that eventually went 16, with the Red Sox winning 1-0. He will attempt to duplicate that effort, and hopefully get some more run support, when he takes on the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Beckett mowed down the Rays in his first start since leaving a game with a hyperextended left knee. He showed that the knee is not an issue, and that his remarkable campaign can continue on its course; Beckett enters Saturday ranked second in the majors with a 2.12 ERA.
The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.11 mark versus the Mariners in his career.
Blake Beavan, 22, gets the nod for Seattle. It will be his fourth major league start. He enters 1-1 with a 2.70 mark.
Beckett’s first pitch is expected at 7:10 p.m.
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