The Red Sox saw Josh Beckett recover from early struggles and backed him up with plenty of offense against Nick Blackburn and the Twins bullpen in an 11-2 rout.
The Red Sox got off to an amazing start against Blackburn in the first. Mike Aviles led the inning off with a double, the first of five hits the Sox would manage in the inning. Ryan Sweeney scored Aviles from first with the second, and was replaced by Dustin Pedroia on the basepaths after a groundout. Pedroia would score on back-to-back singles from Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis loaded the bases with a third. A ground out from Cody Ross served to make it 3-0.
Josh Beckett found himself in trouble in the first, allowing a leadoff hit and then surrendering three straight one-out walks after getting ahead of each of Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Justin Morneau. He would manage to escape the inning unharmed, however, and tightened up from there, managing to make his way through six innings with just two earned runs to his name, striking out the side in his final frame.
The Sox, meanwhile, had gone about putting the game away. David Ortiz went deep in the third to make it 5-1, and Mike Aviles added another run in the fourth by leading off with a solo shot. A long run of doubles would serve to score four more before the fifth was over.
While Sox fans will all remember that no lead is untouchable these days after the way last week ended, this time the Sox' bullpen was up to the task, with Scott Atchison and Matt Albers combining for three scoreless innings to close things out.
Mike Aviles Keeps Rolling: Entering tonight with a five-game hitting streak, Mike Aviles put a punctuation mark on his recent performance with a 4-for-5 night, contributing a single, two doubles, and a homer to the Red Sox' cause. One almost wonders if the leadoff spot is the perfect spot for the switch-hitting infielder.
Josh Beckett Recovers: 37 pitches in the first with three walks and a run to his name? Hardly seems like the start to a solid outing, but Josh Beckett ended up making it work. Picking up a few quick outs along the way and allowing just one more run in the fifth (courtesy in large part to a pop fly that dropped perfectly for a double), Beckett finished his day with six innings, two runs, just the three walks he accumulated in the first, and five strikeouts to his name.
Was That So Hard?: The Twins are not the Yankees by any stretch of the imagination, but man, it sure would be nice if the Sox could've picked up some nice easy innings from the bullpen on Saturday like they did today. Matt Albers hardly seems likely to be old reliable, however, and Scott Atchison is more the mop-up/long relief sort than anything else, so this isn't exactly a sign for future success.