|Boston (73-55) «||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||1||x||5||7||0|
He's not sure he will.
"I don't know," he said after Boston's 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday. "If I can pitch like I did the first six innings, yeah. If I pitch like I did in the seventh inning, no, probably not."
|More Mariners-Red Sox|
Beckett (4-3) was 0-2 with a 10.69 ERA in his previous three starts but through six innings allowed just an infield single to Ichiro Suzuki leading off the game. But then he gave up three runs in the seventh on homers by Russell Branyan and Casey Kotchman. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they had broken a scoreless tie with four runs in the sixth and their bullpen held Seattle hitless for 2 2/3 innings.
"The first six innings were tremendous" for Beckett, manager Terry Francona said. "The biggest inning of every game is after you score, you certainly want to go up and try to put up a zero. So we've got to do a better job of that, but we're also sitting on a win."
Boston won its fourth straight game and improved to a season-best 19 games over .500 but still trails the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays by 5½ games in the AL East.
Seattle lost its fourth straight.
Tim Wakefield was scheduled to face Felix Hernandez in the night game, a makeup of Tuesday night's rainout. Jon Lester, originally set to pitch for Boston, was pushed back top the opener of Friday's three-game road series against the Rays when Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had been set to pitch then, developed lower back soreness.
It rained heavily Wednesday morning but only a light mist fell at times during Wednesday's opener.
Papelbon has allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings in his last five appearances after blowing a 5-3 lead at Toronto by giving up three runs in the ninth of a 6-5 loss.
"Now I'm to the point where I know what's working for me, what's not working," he said. "I definitely have the feel back for my split and I'm able to keep hitters honest with it."
For five innings, Beckett was engaged in a duel with David Pauley (2-5) whose only major league wins came in his previous two games. Pauley allowed two hits until getting knocked out of the game in the sixth.
"I started losing the grip of the ball," he said. "For the most part, my fastball was good. The fifth, sixth inning was when the ball was wet."
Pauley pitched a total of nine games for Boston in 2006 and 2008 and he returned to Fenway Park where he baffled hitters from the start. He retired the first nine batters and gave up only a double to Marco Scutaro in the fourth and a single to Bill Hall in the fifth.
Then the Red Sox teed off in the sixth.
Scutaro led off with a single to third and took second on Victor Martinez's one-out single to left. David Ortiz then walked, loading the bases. Adrian Beltre followed with a hard shot to the mound off Pauley's glove that bounced toward the third-base line as Scutaro scored the first run.
Mike Lowell hit a sacrifice fly to right and Daniel Nava made it 4-0 with a two-run lined single over the head of second baseman Chone Figgins. Jamey Wright replaced Pauley and struck out Hall to end the inning.
"I think [Pauley] threw the ball well," Seattle manager Daren Brown said, "just made some mistakes in the sixth that just cost us the ballgame."
Beckett kept up his dominance in the seventh by starting with his seventh strikeout, fanning Figgins. Then, like Pauley, he quickly lost his touch.
Branyan his 20th homer of the season to right field, Jose Lopez singled off the left-field wall and Kotchman followed with a two-run shot to right field, his ninth. Suddenly, it was 4-3 and Beckett was done after allowing four hits and one walk. Bard did the job quickly, fielding grounders by Franklin Gutierrez and Josh Bard and throwing to first to end the inning.
The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the eighth on Darnell McDonald's RBI single.
|Josh Beckett is pretty solid in working the first six innings, but not so much in the seventh when he is taken out. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.310|
|Chone Figgins, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.250|
|Russell Branyan, DH||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.238|
|Jose Lopez, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.239|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.225|
|Franklin Gutierrez, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|Josh Bard, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.238|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.205|
|Josh Wilson, SS||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.252|
|HR - Russell Branyan (20, Beckett), Casey Kotchman (9, Beckett)|
|RBI - Russell Branyan (45), Casey Kotchman 2 (47)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|Outfield Assists - Ryan Langerhans 1|
|David Pauley (L,2-5)||5.2||6||4||4||2||1||0||4.02|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Pauley 90-56, Jamey Wright 44-26|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Pauley 9-7, Jamey Wright 5-0|
|Batters Faced - David Pauley 25, Jamey Wright 9|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.278|
|J.D. Drew, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.258|
|Victor Martinez, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.281|
|David Ortiz, DH||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.265|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||3||2||1||1||1||1||0||.325|
|Mike Lowell, 1B||1||0||0||1||2||0||0||.228|
|Daniel Nava, LF||3||0||1||2||0||0||1||.279|
|Darnell McDonald, PR-LF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.273|
|Bill Hall, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.241|
|Ryan Kalish, CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.229|
|2B - Marco Scutaro (32, Pauley)|
|SF - Mike Lowell (2)|
|RBI - Adrian Beltre (87), Mike Lowell (20), Daniel Nava 2 (19), Darnell McDonald (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Daniel Nava 2 (10), Darnell McDonald (18)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hall-Scutaro-Lowell|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Josh Beckett (W,4-3)||6.1||4||3||3||1||7||2||6.50|
|Daniel Bard (H,28)||1.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||1.82|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,32)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.96|
|HBP - Figgins (by Daniel Bard)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 99-59, Daniel Bard 20-11, Jonathan Papelbon 18-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 3-8, Daniel Bard 3-2, Jonathan Papelbon 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 23, Daniel Bard 7, Jonathan Papelbon 3|
|Attendance - 37183|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Victor Carapazza, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Angel Hernandez|