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Red Sox Extras is a postgame feature providing analysis for each game. Boston defeated the Seattle Mariners, 5-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.
Earlier this season, the Sox took what should have been a day of note--the celebrations for Fenway Park's 100th birthday--and turned it into a sad occasion by losing to the Yankees.
On Tuesday, they took another deserving day, with Tim Wakefield returning to Fenway Park and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to none other than Doug Mirabelli, and provided an on-field product that lived up to the pre-game ceremonies.
It was just the latest in a line of impressive games by the Sox that suddenly has them looking like a legitimate baseball team again, not one struggling beneath the weight of a failed 2011 campaign.
Josh Beckett was about as good as he could possibly be on an afternoon where he needed to be at his absolute best to put his debacle against the Indians behind him. The golf jokes and calls for his head will certainly be quieter, if perhaps not gone entirely, after a seven inning domination of the Mariners, including three perfect innings to start the game and an impressive nine strikeouts. That Beckett should return at this level is perhaps not so terrible surprising--though his ERA is large, he's either been very good, or very bad this year. Never in-between.
The offense, while not explosive, did what it needed to do. They worked strong at bats, building Blake Beavan's pitch count early, and then scored early enough to give Beckett first an early lead, and then a comfortable one. Especially impressive was David Ortiz, who hit his eighth homer of the year to give the Sox their first run and then actually bunted his way to first and scored later on.
It bears mentioning that even Bobby Valentine had a good day, not making the mistake of waiting too long to start looking towards the bullpen. With Beckett tiring in the seventh, losing some velocity and getting hit harder than he had all day, Valentine had someone warming in the pen so that he wouldn't be left high-and-dry with a crisis underway. It's a good sign for a manager who has too often been guilty of a slow hook.
The Sox will start a two-game series Wednesday, as they face the Rays in Tampa Bay.
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|Boston Red Sox||0||0||1||2||1||0||0||1||X||5||9||0|
|WP: Josh Beckett (3 - 4)
LP: Blake Beavan (1 - 4)
The Red Sox received seven terrific innings from Josh Beckett Tuesday afternoon as they shut the Seattle Mariners out 5-0 for their fifth straight win.
Taking the mound for the first time since his disastrous outing against the Indians left him persona non grata in Fenway, Beckett did his best to earn redemption against the Mariners. Mimicing Jon Lester's start from the night before, Beckett would record three perfect innings to start the game, striking out six batters in the process before an infield single off the bat of Dustin Ackley broke it up.
The Sox would pick up their first run in the bottom of the third after building up Blake Beavan's pitch count earlier when David Ortiz hit his eighth homer of the year on a long fly ball into the bullpen in right field. They would tack on two more in the fourth when Mike Aviles doubled into right field and Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI ground out to score Cody Ross and Mike Aviles from third, respectively.
With Beavan now out of the game, the Sox would make it 4-0 in the fifth thanks to some unusual play from David Ortiz, who bunted to an open left side, reached second on a double play attempt which saw the shortstop Munenori Kawasaki stray too far from second to earn the neighborhood call, and then scored on a Will Middlebrooks wall ball single.
Beckett, meanwhile, though no longer perfect, was still quite strong. He would pitch through the end of the seventh, striking out nine batters and allowing just six baserunners before Bobby Valentine turned to a rested bullpen on a rainy day. While they had some wiggle room to work with, the Sox relievers would have no need for it, with Rich Hill and Alfredo Aceves each recording 1-2-3 innings to end the game and secure the short sweep.
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|Boston Red Sox||0||0||1||2||1||0||0||1||X||5||9||0|
|WP: Josh Beckett (3 - 4)
LP: Blake Beavan (1 - 4)
The Red Sox and Mariners are set to finish up their quick two-game series in Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon, with Josh Beckett taking on Blake Beavan as the Sox go for their fifth consecutive win and a sweep of Seattle.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, Final -- And that's five straight wins, a quick sweep of the Mariners, and another well played game from the Sox! They just might be making a habit of this!
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, End 8th -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia starts the frame off with a double, and then scores a fifth run for the Sox when Mike Carp manages to make a mess of a fly ball into the corner in left, turning an our into an RBI double. Alfredo Aceves will get some work in as the Sox go for the save.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, Mid 8th -- With Beckett out of the game, Rich Hill records a 1-2-3 eighth to keep the Sox' four-run lead intact headed to the ninth.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, End 7th -- Steve Dalabar walks David Ortiz, but strikes out Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks to avoid harm in a scoreless seventh.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, Mid 7th -- Josh Beckett is showing signs of fatigue, hitting 90 a lot more often than 92 and falling behind in the count. Still, he's through seven scoreless with another 1-2-3 inning, and Bobby Valentine (to his credit) had Rich Hill warming up as a precaution behind him. Another complete game would be nice, but with Bobby Valentine having just shook his hand in the dugout, it seems like this one is over for Josh.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, End 6th -- The Sox go quietly in the bottom of the sixth, with Ryan Sweeney striking out against Charlie Furbush (who entered to start the fifth) to end the inning.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, Mid 6th -- The Mariners come dangerously close to scoring, with Ichiro Suzuki hitting an infield single and Jesus Montero walking to give them a pair of two-out baserunners before Kyle Seager puts some fear into Beckett with a very loud fly ball to right field. Luckily, it stays in the yard, and Cody Ross settles underneath for the out.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 4, End 5th -- Between a David Ortiz bunt and a botched double play, the Sox have their fourth run of the game. Ortiz was the unexpected first successful bunter of the year for the Sox, and then stayed alive at second when shortstop Munenori Kawasaki strayed too far from the base too early to earn the typical neighborhood call. A wild pitch would move Ortiz to third before WIll Middlebrooks bounced a Fenway single off the Monster to score him.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 3, Mid 5th -- Josh Beckett strikes out two more batters around a walk of Mike Carp. That's nine strikeouts to two hits and a walk through five innings for Josh Beckett. Perhaps the golf jokes will go away tonight?
Mariners 0, Red Sox 3, End 4th -- The Sox get some good stuff from the bottom of the order this time around, with Cody Ross and Daniel Nava giving the Sox a pair of one-out baserunners. Mike Aviles doubled one in, and Ryan Sweeney brought in a second with a ground ball out.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- Like Jon Lester before him, Josh Beckett sees his perfection come to an end after three innings on an infield single. Beckett returns to the strikeout for the next at bat, getting John Jaso on a curveball before Ichiro provides a more convincing hit to center field. The next two batters go down on weak contact, however, leaving the Mariners scoreless.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 1, End 3rd -- Arguably the cleanest inning for Blake Beavan so far also features the first Red Sox run of the game, as David Ortiz takes the young Seattle starter into the bullpen in right field for a solo shot. The rest of the Sox go down with relatively little fuss.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- The third is the longest inning yet for Josh Beckett, who needs 17 pitches to record three outs. That's largely because he struck out all three batters he faced, however. So that makes it better.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- Another two baserunners, another long inning, but still no runs for the Red Sox. Jarrod Saltalamacchia leads the frame off with a single, and moves to second when Daniel Nava gets hit by a pitch with one out. But a pop out from Mike Aviles and strike out from Ryan Sweeney end the threat in a hurry.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- After freezing Jesus Montero with a curveball for a called strike three and getting a ground ball from Kyle Seager which Mike Aviles makes a great diving play on for the out, Josh Beckett has to wait through a lengthy foul review after Justin Smoak plants a first-pitch four-seamer in the seats in right. The call comes back foul, and Beckett refuses to give Smoak another straight four-seamer, eventually striking him out swinging at a curveball.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The Sox threaten to score in the first with a Dustin Pedroia infield single and a walk from Adrian Gonzalez, but Will Middlebrooks grounds out to end the frame. Still, 29 pitches for Beavan is a good sign after just one inning.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- The ceremonies for Tim Wakefield day (featuring Doug Mirabelli) are over, and as ominous black clouds roll over Fenway, Josh Beckett retires the Mariners in order in the top of the first. Dustin Ackley went down swinging to start the game, as he did against Jon Lester. John Jaso put the ball on a line to right, but Cody Ross managed to back up and make a bit of a sketchy grab for the second out before Ichiro flew out to center to end the inning.
The Red Sox are in search of their second sweep of the season and a five-game winning streak as they take on the Mariners in a Tuesday matinee. First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts from NESN and WEEI.
The Sox have been on an impressive streak, not simply destroying teams with offense as they did in their first long winning streak, but actually playing solid, all-around baseball in their last three. Jon Lester was the author of the most recent impressive performance, going the whole nine innings Monday, allowing just one run as the Sox put up six behind him.
It's the kind of quiet, they've seen so little of since the end of last August.
Now they'll go for five straight wins and four straight strong games against Blake Beavan and the Seattle Mariners.
Boston Red Sox (16-19)
Seattle Mariners (16-21)
The Red Sox won their fourth straight game Monday night behind a dominant Jon Lester, taking out the Mariners 6-1 in Fenway Park.
The offense got to Jason Vargas early on, with a walk from Dustin Pedroia and doubles from David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez scoring two runs in the first inning.
Ultimately, those runs would have been enough for the Red Sox, too, because Jon Lester was on fire. Retiring the first 11 batters he faced, Lester only lost the perfect start on an infield single off of his own glove, and did not see a ball leave the infield until the fifth.
Still, the Sox would add a few more in the third on homers from Kelly Shoppach and the torrid Daniel Nava, and then found a sixth run in the eighth on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly.
The shutout would last into the ninth, where Lester finally gave up a run on an Ichiro Suzuki groundout. He would end the game quickly thereafter, however, striking out Alex Liddi on six pitches for the third out.
Lester Spot On: The biggest difference for Lester tonight was his ability to locate the fastball, which he used to paint corners and edges with regularity. An aggressive Mariners team was all-too-happy to turn those painted pitches into easy outs, with hard contact not coming until the later innings when he started to lose it outside the zone. Interestingly, that's also when he started picking up some more strikeouts, doubling his total in the last few innings.
Daniel Nava On Fire: Who is hitting .583/.750/1.167 in his first 18 trips to the plate? The 29-year-old outfielder who failed to make his original college team (he worked as the equipment manager instead), was cut from the non-affiliated Golden Baseball League, and since then has done nothing but succeed in the minors.
We saw last year evidence enough that this is not likely to last. Daniel Nava has been exposed before, and the smart money is on him being exposed again as pitchers adjust. But for every day he isn't, he adds to a tremendous story, and keeps that hope alive that it might be one with a tremendously happy ending.
Complete Game: Jon Lester joins Jake Peavy and Jered Weaver as the only pitchers with two complete games on the year. Lester has never had more than two in a season before. Now he'll have over four months to try and beat that record.
The Red Sox and Mariners are set to face off in the first of two games as they squeeze in a quick series in Boston.
We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 6, Final -- The Mariners manage to break through for a run and end the shutout in the ninth, but Lester goes the distance and the Sox win their fourth straight.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 6, End 8th -- The Sox add another run as Marlon Byrd hits a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. Also, Daniel Nava was intentionally walked, so there's that.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, Mid 8th -- Lester is now just three outs away from a complete game shutout, striking out Casper Wells in a perfect eighth.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, End 7th -- Shawn Kelley gets the Sox to go 1-2-3. The offense has quieted way down since the opening innings, which makes Lester's seven shutout all that much more important.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, Mid 7th -- Jon Lester has by far his most difficult inning of the night as his fastball command deserts him a bit, resulting in some high, hittable pitches. Three singles would usually be good for a run, but in this case a line drive off the bat of Kyle Seager finds Dustin Pedroia's glove, and then Mike Aviles' as the middle infield doubled Jesus Montero off of second to calm the inning down.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, End 6th -- Unfortunately, Vargas doesn't follow the pattern, giving up only a Daniel Nava walk in a scoreless sixth.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, Mid 6th -- If the no-hitter hadn't gone by the wayside in the fourth, it would have here, as the Mariners put together a couple of line drives to put two men on with one out. Still, the shutout remains, with a pop fly and ground out ending the threat.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, End 5th -- Every other inning, Jason Vargas is good. Ground outs from David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez, and a strikeout from Will Middlebrooks keeps the Sox off the board in the fifth.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, Mid 5th -- The Mariners get two fly balls to the oufield! But they don't get any hits or walks, so all is well in Fenway Park, where Lester is through five innings of a one-hitter on 55 pitches.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 5, End 4th -- The Red Sox decide to make up for the infield single by going deep a couple times off Jason Vargas. Daniel Nava and his hot bat are first up, clearing the Monster for a two-run bomb, and Kelly Shoppach flips his bat as he goes up an over the seats as well, leaving Fenway for a solo shot.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- Jon Lester's perfection is broken up by an infield single off the bat of Ichiro and deflected by Lester at the mound. The Mariners still don't have a ball out of the infield, however, so that's a different kind of perfection I suppose.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, End 3rd -- Adrian Gonzalez' walk is all the Red Sox can muster in the fourth inning, as Jason Vargas has effectively settled down.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- The Mariners get their first ball in the air off the bat of Michael Saunders. It's a pop up snagged by Mike Aviles for the second out after Alex Liddi went down on a foul tip. Brendan Ryan finishes the inning with a ground ball to Aviles.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, End 2nd -- The Sox get another pair of runners on a couple of infield singles, with Marlon Byrd lining to second, where Dustin Ackley could only knock the ball down rather than actually catch it, and Kelly Shoppach hitting a chopper to the perfect spot down the third base line. Unfortunately, with Byrd getting thrown out at second in between the two events, it was for naught.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, Mid 2nd -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Jon Lester looks much like the first, with Jesus Montero and Kyle Seager making outs on the ground and Justin Smoak striking out on a good curveball. Lester is through the first two now on just 23 pitches without a ball leaving the infield.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 2, End 1st -- In another battle of the Red Sox vs. a junkballer, the Red Sox are winning through the first inning. After Dustin Pedroia drew a one-out walk. David Ortiz went opposite field and off the wall with a changeup to bring Pedroia around all the way from first. Adrian Gonzalez followed up by taking a first pitch fastball and knocking it down the line in left for an RBI double of his own.
Mariners 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Jon Lester is off to a strong start against the Seattle Mariners. Overpowering Dustin Ackley with a high fastball, Lester picked up his first strikeout with the first five pitches of the game, and then induced easy ground ball outs to short and second to end the inning, 1-2-3.
The Red Sox and Mariners will face off in the first of two games Monday night as the Sox look to extend their winning streak to four games against a struggling West Coast club. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
The Sox will do their usual shakeup against a southpaw, shifting Mike Aviles to the top of the lineup and adding Kelly Shoppach and Marlon Byrd to the order against lefty Jason Vargas.
The Mariners will bring with them an opponent the Sox were expecting to have to face for many years in the very different environment of a Red Sox - Yankees game: Jesus Montero. The offseason acquisition has struggled early in his Seattle career, but can certainly hit for power when the occasion calls for it.
Boston Red Sox (15-19)
Seattle Mariners (16-20)
The Red Sox will welcome the Mariners into Fenway Park for a quick two-game set in Boston. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett will get the starts, looking to match the performances the back end of the rotation provided over the weekend.