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Ortiz hits No. 46 as Red Sox hand Weaver first defeat

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Josh Beckett had been awful in August,
especially in his last start.

He was a completely different pitcher against the Los Angeles
Angels.

Beckett rebounded from one of the worst outings of his career to
pitch six strong innings, David Ortiz hit his 46th homer, and the
Boston Red Sox beat the Angels 2-1 Thursday night to hand rookie
Jered Weaver his first loss.

Beckett entered with an 0-3 record in four starts this month,
having allowed 30 hits and 23 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings. In his
previous outing, he walked nine and gave up nine earned runs -- both
career highs -- in a 13-5 loss to the New York Yankees.

Beckett (14-8) blanked the Angels on four hits before leaving in
the seventh because of a small cut on his right middle finger.

"I think a lot of things to into it, the way you feel that
day," the 26-year-old right-hander said regarding the difference
between his performance against the Yankees and his outing against
the Angels. "I don't think you can pinpoint one thing."

Catcher Doug Mirabelli could, pointing to the consistency with
which Beckett threw strikes against the Angels. Beckett didn't walk
a batter and needed only 62 pitches to get through the first six
innings.

"He threw strikes," Mirabelli said. "He should be able to go
out and dominate hitters. When he falls behind, the hitters look
for fastballs.

"I could definitely see the look in his eyes, that he was going
to throw strikes."

Weaver (9-1) was trying to become the third pitcher in
big-league history to win his first 10 decisions as a starter,
joining Hooks Wiltse of the 1904 New York Giants (12-0) and Kirk
Reuter of the 1993-94 Montreal Expos (10-0).

Weaver and Whitey Ford of the 1950 New York Yankees share the AL
record by beginning their respective careers with nine straight
wins as starters.

Weaver pitched very well, but left trailing 1-0 after allowing
four hits including the homer by Ortiz in six innings. The
23-year-old right-hander walked one, struck out six and threw 107
pitches while lowering his ERA to 1.92.

"I wasn't worried about the streak," he said. "It's all about
going out there and competing and trying to give our team a chance
to win the game. I've been having good hitting and good defense
behind me in my last 12 starts or so, but I ran into a good
pitcher. Beckett was on his 'A' game tonight."

"It would have been nice to go 10-0, but some things don't work
out sometimes."

Beckett was relieved by Mike Timlin after issuing his first walk
of the game, to Garret Anderson, and throwing two balls to Juan
Rivera.

Beckett said he first noticed the cut while he was warming up
before the seventh.

"I don't know if it was one pitch or it was gradually
happening," he said. "You almost feel helpless because you can't
throw strikes. It's bittersweet because we won, I'm happy about
that. We've got to reassess it tomorrow, I'm going to stay
optimistic about it."

Timlin threw two more balls to Rivera, with the walk charged to
Beckett. After a wild pitch put runners at second and third, Howie
Kendrick singled to left to drive in Anderson, but Wily Mo Pena
threw Rivera out at the plate.

Timlin retired the next two batters to end the seventh, and the
first two batters in the eighth before being replaced by Jonathan
Papelbon, who got the final four outs for his 34th save in 40
chances.

The win was the second straight for the Red Sox following a
six-game losing streak. They trail the AL East-leading Yankees by
5½ games. The Angels lost their second in a row after a five-game
winning streak, and fell 5½ games behind AL West-leading Oakland.

The Red Sox played without slugger Manny Ramirez, sidelined with
a sore right knee. An MRI taken Thursday morning showed no
structural damage.

Ortiz opened the fourth by hitting a 1-2 pitch over the right
field fence. He leads the majors with his 46 homers and 120 RBI.

The Red Sox made it 2-0 against Brendan Donnelly in the seventh
when Mike Lowell, Pena and Alex Cora hit one-out singles to load
the bases, and Mirabelli followed with an RBI grounder.

Game notes
Ortiz confirmed an Internet report that he spent last
Saturday night at Massachusetts General Hospital while an irregular
heartbeat was monitored, but he didn't miss any playing time. Ortiz
told the Boston Herald that he began experiencing a rapid heartbeat
Friday night after the Red Sox dropped both ends of a doubleheader
to the Yankees at Fenway Park. When the problem persisted into
Saturday, he went to the hospital. ... Weaver won his final five
decisions at Triple-A Salt Lake, meaning he had a 14-game winning
streak snapped. ... The Red Sox played errorless ball -- no surprise
considering their 45 errors were 12 fewer than any other big-league
team entering play Thursday. ... The Angels recalled INF Erick
Aybar from Triple-A Salt Lake after the game and optioned RHP Greg
Jones to the same team.