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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Red Sox survive Beckett's clunker

Going into last night's game, Josh Beckett was shaping up as the odds on favorite to win the AL Cy Young. After last night's performance, he might have lost ground to Roy Halladay and Zach Greinke.

Most importantly, the Red Sox (67-51) held on 10-9 in Toronto (55-62) even though Beckett resembled John Smoltz.

In 5.1 bumpy innings, Beckett allowed seven earned runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Luckily, Blue Jays rookie Ricky Romero has been good against everyone except the Red Sox. He gave up six runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings.

This game looked over early as Boston built up leads of 4-0 and 7-3 but Beckett's uncharacteristic outing made for some tense moments.

David Ortiz's RBI double in the second scored two, Alex Gonzalez drove in a run with a ground out and Jacoby Ellsbury (2 hits, 3 RBIs) singled home Oritz for a 4-0 cushion.

Recent call-ups Randy Ruiz (3rd inning) and Travis Snider (4th inning) hit solo homers to cut the Boston lead in half.

The Red Sox scored twice more in the fourth on an Ortiz solo homer and a sacrifice fly by Ellsbury.

Edwin Encarnacion made it 6-3 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Jason Bay (2 runs, 2 walks) hit a solo homer to make it 7-3 before Adam Lind's (2 hits, 2 RBIs) two-run double brought Toronto within two in the bottom of the fifth.

Rod Barajas (2 runs, 2 hits) tied it with a two-run bomb off Beckett in the sixth which ended Beckett's night.

The Red Sox responded once again with three in the eighth. Alex Gonzalez's bunt to pitcher Casey Jannsen was thrown away, allowing Ortiz to score. Then Ellsbury hit another sac. fly and Victor Martinez (2 hits) came through with an RBI double.

Jonathan Papelbon came to Daniel Bard's rescue in the eighth as the rookie continues to scuffle after his incredible start.

Unfortunately, Papelbon is almost as shaky as Bard at the moment. Papelbon allowed two inherited runners to score as Marco Scutaro hit a two-run double in the eighth.

The ninth was just as crazy for Papelbon who threw 33 total pitches, 17 for strikes. To get four outs, he worked around two hits and three walks. And most of the balls the Blue Jays hit for outs just fell short of being home runs. In the end, Papelbon recorded his 29th save but he obviously won't be available tonight.

Clay Buchholz for the third time in a row draws an ace, this time in the form of Halladay. After pitching great but losing to C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander, maybe tonight is the night his luck turns around.

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