TORONTO – Josh Beckett, supported by a four home-run night by his offense, was flat out nasty in winning his major league best seventh game which made him the sixth Sox pitcher to win his first seven games to start a season in a 9-2 win over the Blue Jays tonight.
It tied him with George Winter and Mickey Harris. Babe Ruth, Dave Ferriss and Roger Moret all won eight straight.
With the roof open at Rogers Centre it provided a comfortable environment not only for the players but the announced attendance of 41,203 which filled in what was a sparse crowd at the start of the game on “Two-dollar Tuesday.”
Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek hit solo shots, while Dustin Pedroia and Mike Lowell banged three-run homers providing Beckett plenty of offense. Beckett has received 55 runs of offensive support in seven starts, but he’s pitched well enough where he hasn’t needed it.
The Sox battered Toronto starter Victor Zambrano for eight runs and exited in the third inning after giving up back-to-back homers to Lowell and Varitek.
The Blue Jays, who dropped to 13-19, lost their seventh straight game. Last night’s loss was no way to begin their 9-day, 9-game homestand.
The Sox got seven innings out of Beckett who allowed five hits, one walk, struck out five and threw only 89 pitches.
The Sox were able to give their secondary pitchers – Devern Hansack (who allowed three walks in the eighth), J.C Romero (who struck out Lyle Overbay to end the eighth) and Kyle Snyder, who finished off the Jays in the ninth – a chance to pitch and it also allowed scouts from Atlanta, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers who were on hand, to look at pitchers who could potentially become available in trade talks down the road.
Varitek and Youkilis each contributed three hits to the Red Sox’ 13-hit attack. Both players reached base four times. Julio Lugo also had a pair of hits, but was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the first which took the Sox out of potentially big inning.
The one downer came when Youkilis was hit off the left leg in the sixth inning by right-hander Casey Janssen. He left the game with a left leg contusion and is listed as day-to-day.