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August 11, 2007
PawSox 6, Chiefs 5
Syracuse, N.Y.--The Pawtucket Red Sox took advantage of the opportunities that the Syracuse Chiefs gave them in a 6-5 win last night at Alliance Bank Stadium.
A throwing error allowed a potential double-play ball hit by Junior Spivey in the third to plate a pair of runs as the PawSox put together a four-run inning off of Syracuse starter Jeremy Cummings (2-2).
Ed Rogers followed with a double to the right-field corner to score Spivey. George Kottaras, who reached on a walk, scored when Chad Mottola bobbled the ball before trying to cut down Kottaras at the plate.
Kottaras seemed to be pain free, returning to the lineup from a knee injury.
Spivey put the PawSox on the board in the second when he singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rogers.
Jed Lowrie caught Syracuse reliever Jamie Vermilyea napping as he stole second in the fourth inning after he singled to left. Vermilyea’s throw to second sailed into centerfield. Lowrie advanced to third and scored when Brandon Moss reached on a fielder’s choice after another botched double-play attempt by Syracuse.
While Syracuse was throwing the ball around on defense, the Chiefs managed to squeeze out four runs on the PawSox knuckleballer Charlie Zink (2-1).
Russ Adams doubled and scored in the first while John Hattig homered to left in the second inning. Adams walked and scored on Kevin Barkers double in the third while Barker walked and scored on Chad Mottola’s two-out single in the fifth.
Abe Alvarez saw his first action since coming off the disabled list. Alvarez relieved Zink in the seventh and issued a walk and a strikeout.
Bryan Corey came on in the eighth and after striking out Mottola gave up a single to Hattig and a double to Robinson Diaz. With one out and runners on second and third PawSox manager Ron Johnson gave the ball to Javier Lopez.
Jacob Ellsbury made a great diving catch of a ball off the bat of John-Ford Griffin. Hattig scored on the sacrifice fly that pulled Syracuse to within a run, but Lopez managed to strikeout Wayne Lydon to end the threat.
Travis Hughes pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save of the season.
Pawtucket sends Clay Buchholz (RHP 0-1, 3.20 ERA) to the mound tonight to face Josh Banks (RHP 10-8, 4.62) for Syracuse.
Spivey was hit by a Lee Gronkiewicz fastball on his upper left arm in the eighth after Syracuse catcher Robinson Diaz was hit by Zink in the sixth.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the sixth to extend his hitting steak to eight games. Brandon Moss singled and scored in the four-run third inning to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Bobby Kielty extended his hit streak to four games with a single in the third.
Former major leaguer Fred McGriff was at the game as he was inducted to the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. After talking about how it was an honor to play at Fenway even when the fans got on him, he offered his batting advice against a knuckleball like Zink. "Knuckleballers can be tough," McGriff said. "With kunkleballers like Tim Wakefield and Charlie Zink you have to go after the first pitch. Wakefield always tries to just get the first pitch over and then his pitches improved. With Zink I think I would definitely swing at the first pitch."
--ED GONSER, Special to the Journal
Posted by Chris Venditto at 10:46 PM to PawSox
Beckett dominant in Red Sox' 6-2 victory
BALTIMORE – Manager Terry Francona may not know it, but there’s a guy on his team who might be able to come off the bench and give the Red Sox some speed on the basepaths in a pinch-running role.
The Red Sox right-hander raced off the mound when Francona lifted him with two outs in the ninth inning of what became a nice bounce-back 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Most pitchers stroll to the dugout. Some jog.
Beckett sprinted, flying the distance between the mound and the Boston dugout in roughly 2.3 seconds.
“I didn’t even notice,” said Francona. “I was talking to (catcher) Jason (Varitek), awaiting (reliever Manny) Delcarmen. As long as he didn’t pull a hamstring I don’t care.”
It wasn’t that Beckett was upset with his manager for being taken out of the game one out shy of what would have been his second complete game of the year. Nor, he said, was he irritated he had lost his shutout with two outs when Miguel Tejada singled past third baseman Mike Lowell on his 110th pitch of the game, an 0-and-2 curveball.
Beckett, who was yanked when Kevin Millar followed Tejada’s hit with an RBI double into the left-field corner, was more upset that he wasn’t able to give the bullpen a complete day of rest.
“I was just mad at myself when I came out,” said Beckett. “I just couldn’t get that final out. It’s nice to have complete games and some numbers, but to me, I wanted to save the guys in the bullpen. We’re going to need them down the stretch. And to have to have two guys come in after me is frustrating.”
But even the perfectionist in Beckett couldn’t let that frustration weigh him down after a marvelously dominating effort.
Beckett, who was backed up by Delcarmen (12-pitch walk to Aubrey Huff) and Jonathan Papelbon (popup, 27th save on three pitches), earned his 15th win of the year, tops in the major leagues, though the Angels’ John Lackey also was shooting for victory number 15 later last night.
He allowed eight hits, three of them in the final inning – a leadoff opposite-field double by Brian Roberts and the two-out hits by Tejada and Millar. Beckett also fanned eight, keeping his pitch count manageable so he was able to try for what would have been his third career shutout.
“It’s hard to find anything wrong with that game,” conceded Beckett. “They didn’t exactly crush the ball in the ninth inning.”
He certainly looked sharp from where Varitek sat.
“He was in a little ‘feel’ mode for the early innings (trying to get a feel for his pitches) but then he settled in,” said Varitek.
In general, Beckett, now 15-5, played the role of stopper, giving the Sox exactly what they needed after having blown a four-run lead in the eighth inning in suffering a disheartening 6-5 loss Friday night.
“That’s very reassuring. It allows us to put (Friday) in the past in a hurry and that’s a big compliment to Beckett,” said Francona of having Beckett on the mound yesterday.
But then again, Beckett has been outstanding in almost all of his 22 starts this season. He’s a strong candidate for the Cy Young Award. And while he’s certainly no shoo-in because there are several other pitchers having equally impressive seasons, Beckett’s statistics to this point place him squarely on the Cy Young radar screen.
Aside from leading the majors in wins, Beckett also entered yesterday’s game in the top 10 in the American League in several categories.
He was eighth in earned-run average at 3.31, and yesterday’s effort lowered his E.R.A. to 3.24. Beckett also was eighth in strikeouts with 132, and he raised that total to 140. There are other numbers that stand out. On the road, he’s now 8-1 with a 1.65 E.R.A. (12 earned runs, 65 1/3 innings). And in 17 of his 22 starts he has allowed three or fewer earned runs, a model of consistency.
One reason for his vast improvement over last year (16-11 but with a 5.01 E.R.A.) is his willingness to utilize all of his pitches. A year ago, Beckett tried to blow hitters away, relying mostly on his fastball.
Yesterday, Beckett had his good zip, touching 97 on the radar gun numerous times, even in the ninth inning. Indeed, Millar’s hit came on a 97-mile-an-hour heater on Beckett’s 115th and final pitch. Of Beckett’s eight strikeouts, five came on fastballs and three on curveballs.
“He was pretty dominant against a good-hitting team,” said Varitek.
And he gave the Red Sox just what the doctor ordered.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 9:17 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 11
-Dustin Pedroia has multiple hits in 12 of his last 21 games. He is 34 for 88 (.386) during that stretch. Pedroia has a team-high five-game hitting streak, during which he is 9 for 18 (.500) with a double, a home run and a walk.
-Kevin Youkilis has not committed an error at first base since July 4, 2006, a team-record 152-game streak.
-For Baltimore: Corey Patterson is 58 for 168 (.345) in his last 45 games.
-J.D. Drew has not hit a home run since June 20, in Atlanta.
-Eric Gagne has surrendered six runs in 3.1 innings since joining the Red Sox.
-For Baltimore: Jay Payton is 0 for his last 12.
Red Sox vs. Garrett Olson
-OIson has never before faced Boston
Orioles vs. Josh Beckett
-Jay Payton, 8 for 18 (.444)
-Brian Roberts, 3 for 9 (.333), 2 2B, HR, BB
-Melvin Mora, 2 for 7 (.286), 2 2B
-Ramon Hernandez, 5 for 18 (.278), 3 2B
-Aubrey Huff, 4 for 15 (.267), 2B, BB
-Nick Markakis, 2 for 10 (.200), 2B, 2 BB
-Tike Redman, 1 for 5 (.200), BB
-Kevin Millar, 1 for 6 (.167)
-Miguel Tejada, 2 for 13 (.154), HR
-Corey Patterson, 1 for 12 (.083), BB
-Brandon Fahey, 0 for 3
-Paul Bako, 0 for 7, 3 BB
-Jay Gibbons, 0 for 11
-Beckett is 2-1 with a 3.33 E.R.A. in four career starts against Baltimore.
-All-time series: Boston 461, Baltimore 397. In Baltimore: Boston 227, Baltimore 203. At Camden Yards: Boston 71, Baltimore 42.
-The Red Sox are 38-10 when Manny Ramirez drives in at least one run.
-Baltimore is 10-21 in one-run games.
-Ramirez last night passed Andre Dawson for 31st on the all-time RBI list, with 1,592. He tied Jimmie Foxx for sixth-most in Red Sox history, with 788.
-Since July 20, the Red Sox are 13-7, but have lost three games in the standings.
-Josh Beckett is 7-1 on the road with a 1.59 E.R.A.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:06 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Starting Lineups, Aug. 11
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:32 PM | Permalink