Game over: Red Sox 3, Rays 0
It will be overshadowed by the Stanley Cup Final, but Josh Beckett was sensational tonight in tossing one-hitter. His performance was certainly right there with recently great starts by Detroit's Justin Verlander, the Angels' Jered Weaver and Tampa Bay's James Shields.
Beckett, whose ERA dropped to 1.86, retired the last 19 batters he faced. The only hit and only base runner was a third-inning infield single by Red Brignac. Otherwise, Beckett was perfect, throwing only 97 pitches.
The game lasted 2:20 before 19,388 at the Trop.
All he would need was Kevin Youkilis's three-run homer - his 10th - in the seventh inning off Jeremy Hellickson, who to that point had matched Beckett.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Rays 0
The Josh Beckett Show folks. A one-hitter through eight. Tremendous performance. He's retired the last 16 batters he's faced. The only hit a Reid Brignac infield single to third base back in the third.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Rays 0
Yep, Beckett held the three-run lead and retired the Rays in order. That's 13 straight that Beckett's retired. As we begin the eighth, Hellickson is out, replaced by Cesar Ramos.
Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Rays 0
Backfired strategy? Well, what else do you do if you're Joe Maddon with a runner at third and one out and Adrian Gonzalez up? Maddon ordered A-Gon walked intentionally to pitch to Youkilis, who was 0-for-5 in the series with two GIDP's and two strikeouts. On an 0-1 pitch, Youkilis stroked a three-run homer, that just barely got into the left field bleachers breaking up this pretty neat pitchers' duel.
Ellsbury made Hellickson work in a 9-pitch at-bat, but lined out to lead off the inning. Pedroia tripled off the right field wall over Joyce's head, bringing up the Gonzo decision.
Hellickson started the inning with 65 pitches and ended with 94.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Don't think I've seen two more efficient pitchers in the same game in a long time. Through six innings of course. Beckett has retired 10 straight.
Top 6th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Who scores first - Rays, Sox , Canucks or Bruins?
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Beckett overpowered Upton with a 3-2 fastball for the second out. Seven straight retired by Beckett, who has it going again tonight.
Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Hellickson even fielded Ortiz's pop up in foul ground. Kid is a pretty good pitcher.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Beckett has thrown 40 pitches through four innings. He's struck out three, Got three ground ball outs and six balls for outs in the air. Each team has a hit.
Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Another double-play grounder (this one by Dustin Pedroia) has erased a Sox base runner. Ellsbury had walked to lead off the inning. The Rays are a very good defensive team. Hellickson has pitched to the minimum 12 batters.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Both pitchers - Hellickson and Beckett - are throwing smoke. Beckett retired eight of the first nine batters he faced before Reid Brignac placed a grounder to third with Kevin Youkilis playing off the line with a lefthanded hitter up, which he beat out for a single. Beckett was charged with a throwing error on a pickoff move as Brignac advanced to second base, but Beckett struck out Johnny Damon to end the inning.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Not much happening here so far. The Sox went down in order against Hellickson, who is one of the top rookie pitchers in baseball this season. Carl Crawford, who went 0 for 3 in his return to The Trop yesterday, popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Strong inning for Josh Beckett, who entered the game with a 2.06 ERA. The Rays went down in order and Matt Joyce fanned to end the inning.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
We're underway here. Dustin Pedroia singled with one out, but Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson got Adrian Gonzalez to knock into an inning-ending double-play.