After Clay Buchholz' poor outing on Saturday, the Red Sox were still searching for a second pitcher to find their form. They found him Sunday in Josh Beckett.
Even with Alex Rodriguez out of the game with the flu, Beckett was up against a strong challenge in the Yankees lineup. From the get go, though, he made it clear he was not about to back down. He came out hot, striking out Brett Gardner to lead off the game, and then continued with a K of Mark Teixeira. Beckett picked up another whiff--this one courtesy of Nick Swisher--to end the second, and then a fourth to start the third.
It was in the bottom of the third that things got a bit crazy. Stranding a pair of runners in both of the first two innings, the Red Sox seemed poised to finally break through with the bases loaded and David Ortiz up to bat. And while the ensuing double play wasn't ideal, it did appear to secure the Sox a run.
Umpire Mark Wegner disagreed, calling interference on Kevin Youkilis for sliding outside of the baseline in an attempt to break up the double play. That the double play was completed was immaterial: the runners who advanced from second and third had to return to their bases. Mike Cameron would grab an infield single to grab the Sox a run, but were it not for the controversial call, they would have had two.
If Josh Beckett was a bit phased by either the long wait or the loss of the run, it showed through a bit in the fourth, as the big righty had the worst inning of his night, giving up a walk to Mark Teixeira and a single to Robinson Cano before ending the threat. From there, it was all easy sailing for Beckett, who retired the next 12 straight batters before leaving after the eighth with 10 strikeouts to his name.
Through the seventh inning, it had been another frustrating night for Boston. Not only had they lost the run to the umpire's call, but had stranded 12 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the sixth. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Marco Scutaro had only to avoid the pop-up or strikeout to bring home a run. Even a double play would work (barring interference). He delivered rather more, turning on an offering from Joba Champerlain and shooting it out into left field for a double. The Red Sox' lead was suddenly a more comfortable 3-0.
Tacking on another in the eighth inning, Jonathan Papelbon came in despite the non-save situation, and looked every bit as ridiculous as he had in his last outing, striking out Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to close things out and give the Sox the win and the series.