Josh Beckett, returning from the disabled list, pitched five shutout innings and received the win in Boston's 8-1 triumph over the Texas Rangers tonight. Beckett gave up four hits, no walks, and struck out seven, just one week after visiting with Dr. James Andrews to have his right elbow examined.
Dr. Andrews gave Beckett a clean bill of health, but the Red Sox brass still chose to limit Beckett's pitch count as a precautionary measure. Beckett threw 80 pitches—49 for strikes—in the outing.
Lowell, also returning from the DL, led Red Sox batters with four RBI and also crushed his 15th home run. He was 3-for-5 in the game, showing no signs of discomfort from the right-oblique strain that had benched him since Aug. 13.
Lowell's presence at third base pushed Jed Lowrie over to shortstop, returning Alex Cora to the bench. Coco Crisp, who also went 3-for-5, added three RBI. Jason Bay had one hit in three at-bats but also walked twice and scored two runs.
Boston's win, combined with Tampa Bay's 6-4 loss against Toronto, pulled the Red Sox within two-and-a-half games of the A.L.-East-leading Rays. Beckett's successful return to the rotation gives a significant boost to Boston's October hopes.