BOSTON (AP) -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon finally figured out
Thursday night what the rest of baseball already knew about Boston
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett.
"I had never really seen him before," Maddon said. "I didn't
know that he had all that kind of stuff. He was really good."
Beckett struck out seven in six shutout innings for his fourth
consecutive win, and David Ortiz snapped out of a slump with two
hits and an RBI to lead Boston to a 4-1 victory over the Devil
Rays. Beckett (7-1) allowed just an infield single through 4 1-3
innings and left after 101 pitches with a 3-0 lead, having given up
four hits and a walk.
"He had no-hit stuff tonight. He really did. It was electric,"
Boston manager Terry Francona said. "They had some real strong,
long at-bats ... and just kind of made Josh run out of gas."
Beckett, who spent the first five years of his career with the
Florida Marlins, may be new to Maddon, but teammate Mark Loretta
remembers him from the NL. Asked if he had seen Beckett pitch like
that before, Loretta said, "Yeah. Too many times."
Beckett remembers Loretta as a tough out in the lineup, but he
hadn't paid too much attention to the second baseman's defense
until they both came to the Red Sox. On Thursday, Loretta turned
Julio Lugo's extra-base hit into an out by chasing down a missed
cutoff and shuffling the ball to third.
"That was unbelievable," Beckett said. "I was standing there
Doug Waechter (0-3) gave up three runs and 11 hits with two
walks and three strikeouts. The Red Sox helped him out by stranding
10 of the baserunners he allowed in 5 1-3 innings, and 15 in all.
Carl Crawford cooled off -- just a little. A day after going
5-for-5 with five runs and four stolen bases, the Devil Rays center
fielder went 3-for-4, stole two bases to give him 19 for the season
and made a diving catch to end the eighth.
Ortiz was 0-for-9 in the two previous games, both losses to the
Yankees. Manny Ramirez went 1-for-4 with a walk after going
8-for-12 with four homers and 10 RBI in the three-game series
against New York.
Lugo led off the sixth with a double to center, then took off
for third when the relay bounced off shortstop Alex Gonzalez's
glove and trickled toward third. Loretta ran after it and tossed
the ball to third baseman Mike Lowell to get the runner.
"Basically, all I did was not take it for granted that the ball
would be caught," Loretta said. "It was a fluky play. You won't
see that again this year, I bet."
Wily Mo Pena led off the sixth with a grounder that Lugo fielded
and threw over the head of first baseman Greg Norton for a single
and an error. Pena took third on Gonzalez's sacrifice bunt -- the
throw to first barely got him -- and scored when Loretta singled to
Chad Harville got Ortiz and Ramirez with runners on first and
second to end the sixth, but he gave up Boston's fourth run in the
seventh when Trot Nixon walked, Varitek singled and, one out later,
Pena walked to load the bases.
Gonzalez's fly to right was too shallow to score the runner. But
when Harville got Youkilis to swing at a wild pitch for strike
three, the ball went to the backstop, Youkilis took off for first
and Nixon scored.
The Devil Rays scored on three straight singles off Timlin,
including Jonny Gomes' deep line drive off the fence in center
field that was only a single because the runners had to hold up to
make sure it wasn't caught. Papelbon struck out Ty Wigginton with
runners on first and third to end the threat.
Crawford struck out in the third to end a streak of six
consecutive hits. He singled in the first inning and stole second.
... LHP Scott Kazmir, scheduled to start on Friday, was the winning
pitcher in the Devil Rays' last three victories over the Red Sox.
He's the first lefty to beat Boston in Fenway Park three times
before his 23rd birthday since before World War I, according to the
Elias Sports Bureau. ... 2B Jorge Cantu went 0-for-4 in an extended
spring training game. ... OF Rocco Baldelli took the day off from a
minor-league rehab stint after going 4-for-7 in his first two games
with Triple-A Durham. He is expected to stay another two weeks. ...
Red Sox LHP David Wells will be monitored but won't be on a
specific pitch limit when he starts on Friday night for the first
time since April 12. He threw 66 pitches in a rehab start in
Scranton. ... OF Coco Crisp (broken finger) was 0-for-5 with a walk
and a stolen base in an extended spring training game.