SOX WIN (10:00, END 9, 11-6)
No. 162 is all that’s left in the regular season. The Sox won their third straight after Josh Beckett straighted himself out. Dustin Pedroia, Brian Anderson, Victor Martinez, and Dusty Brown homered for the Sox. It was Martinez’s first career grand slam and Brown’s first career hit.
QUITE A FIRST (9:55, END 8, 11-6)
Dusty Brown has had a pretty awesome week. He pitched one inning Wednesday, striking out the last batter he faced. Tonight, he notched his first hit — a solo home run over the Green Monster. After Brown circled the bases and entered the dugout, the crowd, remarkably full for this juncture of the game/season, chanted “Dus-ty!” until he came out and gave his first curtain call.
Brown is the 24th player to hit a home run for the Sox this season, passing the old team record of 23, set in 1996.
FREE BYRD (9:39, END 7, 10-6 SOX)
After Byrd took over Beckett, he threw a flawless sixth inning. In the seventh, he allowed a two-run home run to Choo. Byrd last pitched as a reliever in the regular season since June 15, 2001.
Brian Anderson, meanwhile, is having his best day as a Red Sox. He is 3 for 3 with three RBI and a home run, which he drilled in the third inning. He could be the beneficiary of Rocco Baldelli’s strained left hip flexor.
BECKETT TURNS IT AROUND (9:01, MID 5, 10-4 SOX)
Beckett, now at 98 pitches, is most likely done for the night. The Indians beat around Beckett for two innings, but his finish suggested he’ll be fine for the playoffs. He allowed one hit, a single, in his last three innings of work. Before the game, Terry Francona said Beckett’s back was a not a concern for him in the least. Eventually, Beckett showed why.
BECKETT OUT FOR FIFTH, BYRD READY (8:53, END 4, 10-4 SOX)
Having thrown 83 pitches, Beckett will at least begin the fifth inning. Paul Byrd is up and getting ready to relieve him if necessary.
BECKETT BETTER (8:25, MID 3, 8-4 SOX)
Beckett allowed his seventh his, a line drive single to right by Luis Valbuena, but he was much better in the third, perhaps having knocked some rust off. He struck out Lou Marson and Andy Marte to end the inning. His pitch count is already at 73, 46 of which have been strikes.
BECKETT STILL STRUGGLING, SOX SURGING (8:12, BOT 2, 8-4 SOX)
Beckett surrendered another pair of runs in the second inning, his hit total now at six. That’s not a good sign, but as for the outcome of tonight’s game, the Sox offense is making it matter little. Victor Martinez crushed an opposite-field grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen, the first grand slam of his career, to give the Red Sox the lead with two outs in the second.
BAD START FOR BECKETT (7:29, BOT 1, 2-1 INDIANS)
In his first outing in nine days, Josh Beckett is off to a rough start. Coming back from back spasms, he allowed two runs in the first inning on three hits and a walk before recording the second out. Michael Brantley singled and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double. After an RBI groundout by Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner singled home Cabrera. Beckett settled from there, but he was not as sharp as hoped.
The good news for the Red Sox is, cameo leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia launched a home run out of Fenway Park against Aaron Laffey to lead off the game.