Josh Beckett has had quite a time lately—he's pitched every game perfectly, other than the Phillies game.
He was then named the Player of the Month here on NES 24/7.
He faced Dana Eveland, a kid who couldn’t be in a tougher situation. Facing one of the best teams in the league, Eveland was just called up from Triple-A Sacramento after he pitched just three days prior.
In his short career, he had been awful against the Red Sox. It looked like he was sure to fail.
Beckett silenced the Oakland offense. His one mistake was giving up a home run to Scott Hairston in the top of the first inning, a very surprising homer if you had been watching the overall ordeal.
He shut the A's down until the fifth when, already holding a 4-1 lead, he gave up two doubles to bring in a run—knocked in by Adam Kennedy. Every one of the three major hits (the two doubles and home run) were off his four-seam fastball, though it wasn’t a pitch that was a problem.
With two on and two out in the seventh inning, Beckett was taken out with a 5-2 lead. He went 6 2/3 innings, getting only four strikeouts, but giving up only six hits. With only two earned runs, he had perfectly set up his team for a win.
Jason Bay began the offense with a solo home run, his 20th of the season. After that, with no outs and the bases loaded, Nick Green grounded into a double play as the run scored.
The next inning, in the third, Jason Varitek had the bases loaded with two outs. With a 3-2 count, he popped it over the head of the pitcher and right up the middle for a two-run single. The Sox lead was now 4-1.
In the seventh inning, the lead was tighter at 4-2. After a leadoff double by Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia needed to get him home.
Pedroia singled and Ellsbury scurried home from third. The Red Sox lead was now 5-2, and the win looked very likely.
The bullpen only surrendered one hit in 2 1/3 innings, and Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side to close out the ninth as the Red Sox won, 5-2.
Meanwhile, the Yankees won 10-2 over the Twins and the Rays beat the Blue Jays in extras. Nothing changed, and Boston's lead is still very small. Hopefully, the Red Sox can keep the lead until the All-Star Break, but that's not guaranteed.
Still, a win is a win, and it's just another great day to be a Sox fan.