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Boston at Texas

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Boston (83-57) «0104020018120
Texas (69-73)000000001161

Beckett, Lowell return in style as Red Sox inch closer to Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Beckett showed the Boston Red Sox exactly what they hoped to see in his first start in nearly three weeks.

The five scoreless innings were just a bonus.

Beckett struck out seven and allowed only four singles, helping Boston beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 on Friday night.

"When he left the game, he didn't feel anything," manager Terry Francona said. "He just pitched. There was nothing to report, which was good."

Pitching for the first time since Aug. 17 due to an inflamed right elbow, Beckett (12-9) struck out four of the first eight batters he faced. The right-hander, on a limited pitch count, threw 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes without walking a batter.

"I came out of the game healthy. That's what we were looking for," Beckett said. "I thought about it before the game more than anything. It's one of those deals, you've got to go out and push through it."

Mike Lowell also came off the disabled list, hit a home run in his first at-bat since Aug. 12 to put Boston ahead to stay, and finished 3-for-5 with four RBI.

The Red Sox won their fourth straight game to move within 2½ games of AL East-leading Tampa Bay, a 6-4 loser at Toronto. They remained 5½ games ahead of Minnesota in the wild-card race.

All of that was secondary to Beckett's encouraging outing.

"It's definitely a nice stepping stone and easier to go out the next start and not worry about it," Beckett said.

"We were thrilled," Francona said. "He went out and commanded really well."

Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson and Hideki Okajima finished for the Red Sox, who missed their majors-best 14th shutout when Nelson Cruz hit a two-out RBI single off Okajima in the ninth.

Kevin Millwood (9-8) allowed seven runs, six earned, and nine hits in six innings. The right-hander had won three straight decisions, his longest winning streak since 2002, giving up only four runs over 24 2/3 innings with two complete games in that stretch.

Lowell, who was on the DL with a strained right oblique muscle, put the Red Sox up 1-0 with his 15th homer in the second. The third baseman added a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI double in the ninth.

"It definitely gives me a boost," Lowell said. "I think you're curious. I didn't really think I would be totally lost, but there's a certain amount of uncertainty just because you haven't seen live pitching in three weeks."

Coco Crisp went 3-for-5 with three RBI for Boston.

The Red Sox declared Beckett ready to return after he threw 58 pitches without any problems in a bullpen session Tuesday.

Beckett didn't allow a hit until Joaquin Arias led off the fourth with an infield single, the first of three Texas hits in the inning. But Michael Young grounded into a double play before consecutive singles and a strikeout.

Seven different Texas batters struck out against Beckett, who in his last start allowed a season-high eight runs in only 2 1/3 innings.

"He was probably easing himself in as far as velocity is concerned," Young said. "He was locating all his pitches, commanding his sinker well, mixing some curves, threw his breaking ball for strikes."

Crisp had a two-run single in the fourth, on a flare to short center that ricocheted off the glove of backpedaling second baseman Arias. The Red Sox had back-to-back triples in the sixth, Crisp driving in a run with his before scoring on Jacoby Ellsbury's triple into the right-field corner.

AL batting leader Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double in the first, a play on which Texas left fielder Marlon Byrd sprained his left thumb trying to make a diving catch. Pedroia was 1-for-4 with a walk, dropping his average a point to .332.

Pedroia's liner short-hopped into Byrd's glove, which came off his hand when it hit the ground. Byrd stayed in the game then, but was replaced in the top of the second. X-rays were negative and the Rangers said Byrd is day to day.

The crowd of 30,264 was heavy with Boston fans, who were chanting "Let's Go Red Sox!" early in the game and easily drowned out the home fans.

"If we'd done some things, we could have shut those people up," manager Ron Washington said. "But they got the lead and they held on to it, so you heard more of the Boston crowd."

Notes

  • Boston is 8-0 against the Rangers this season, outscoring them 75-36.
  • Crisp is 21-for-46 his last 13 games.
  • RHP Tim Wakefield is scheduled to make his 500th career appearance for Boston when he starts Saturday night. Bob Stanley (1977-89) is the only Boston pitcher with more appearances (637).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mike Lowell supports Josh Beckett by hitting a home run in his first at-bat after coming off the DL.  (AP)
Mike Lowell supports Josh Beckett by hitting a home run in his first at-bat after coming off the DL. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Lowell
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Boston

J. Beckett
IP 5.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 7
 
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, RF5011002 .264
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4010103 .332
David Ortiz, DH5000004 .267
Mark Kotsay, 1B5100011 .288
Jason Bay, LF3210210 .288
Mike Lowell, 3B5234001 .275
Jed Lowrie, SS4110120 .276
Jason Varitek, C4120112 .230
Coco Crisp, CF5133002 .277
Totals40812855  
Batting
2B - Dustin Pedroia (45, Millwood), Jason Bay (31, Millwood), Mike Lowell (26, White)
3B - Jacoby Ellsbury (6, Millwood), Coco Crisp (3, Millwood)
HR - Mike Lowell (15, Millwood)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (42), Mike Lowell 4 (71), Coco Crisp 3 (38)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (18), Coco Crisp (11)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Lowrie-Pedroia-Kotsay
Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett (W,12-9) 5400070 4.20
Manny Delcarmen 2000030 3.77
Justin Masterson 1000200 3.20
Hideki Okajima 1211120 2.95
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 80-49, Manny Delcarmen 26-16, Justin Masterson 23-11, Hideki Okajima 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 2-5, Manny Delcarmen 1-2, Justin Masterson 2-1
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 18, Manny Delcarmen 6, Justin Masterson 5, Hideki Okajima 6
Texas Rangers
Joaquin Arias, 2B3010120 .271
Michael Young, SS4000013 .284
Josh Hamilton, CF4010010 .301
Milton Bradley, DH3010000 .327
   a- German Duran, PH-DH0100100 .225
Hank Blalock, 1B4010012 .268
Marlon Byrd, LF0000000 .289
    Brandon Boggs, LF4000032 .230
Nelson Cruz, RF4011010 .256
Gerald Laird, C4010022 .284
Chris Davis, 3B2000111 .276
Totals32161312  
a-walked for Bradley in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Nelson Cruz (4)
2-OUT RBI - Nelson Cruz (4)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Joaquin Arias (1, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
Kevin Millwood (L,9-8) 6976141 5.01
Josh Rupe 2100310 4.61
Bill White 0.1211100 27.00
Luis Mendoza 0.2000000 8.35
WP - Luis Mendoza (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Millwood 86-61, Josh Rupe 38-16, Bill White 15-8, Luis Mendoza 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Millwood 4-11, Josh Rupe 3-2, Luis Mendoza 1-1
Batters Faced - Kevin Millwood 29, Josh Rupe 10, Bill White 4, Luis Mendoza 2
Game Information
Attendance - 30264
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Mark Wegner