A SAD END TO A RECORD SEASON ...
Josh Beckett pours it on the Orioles

May 15, 2006 ... Six innings, eight hits, four runs, something like that would have done the job just fine against a woeful Baltimore team outscored, 56-20, by the Sox in seven games this season, all Boston wins, the latest being tonight's 11-1 annihilation before 25,607 at Camden Yards. And so, as a 2-1 lead became 6-1 became 8-1, Josh Beckett only got sharper, better, more focused.

Indeed, the emotional Texan who at times shows the mound guile of a 35-year-old and at other times the immaturity of a teenager, turned 26 and pitched as crisp a game as he has at any point this year. In seven innings, he needed just 80 pitches. He didn't walk or hit anyone, allowed only two hits in 22 Baltimore at-bats, and faced just one over the minimum over seven innings to improve to 5-1 with a 4.24 ERA. His lone mistake was a 3-and-2 pitch in the first inning that Miguel Tejada lined 365 feet to left. At Fenway, it would have been a single, possibly a double. Here, it was gone, for a 1-0 lead that lasted about as the long as that ball's time in flight itself.

Once Beckett had given that up, he went to work, retiring the next 13 batters. Jay Gibbons flied to right. Ramon Hernandez popped to Jason Varitek. Jeff Conine flied to right. Corey Patterson popped to second. Javy Lopez fanned, looking, at a curveball. Nick Markakis grounded to Kevin Youkilis. Brandon Fahey flied to left. Melvin Mora fanned, swinging at a fastball that registered at 97 m.p.h. on the ESPN gun. Tejada lined to left. Gibbons fanned, on a fastball ESPN clocked at 99. Hernandez again popped to Varitek. Conine struck out swinging, on a biting curveball. Patterson, too, whiffed at a dynamic curveball. 13 up, 13 down.

Lopez finally ended Beckett's run of dominance, singling to left to lead off the sixth. But Markakis then grounded back to Beckett, who threw to Alex Gonzalez at second just about as hard as you'll ever see a pitcher make a throw on a fielding play. Gonzalez relayed to Youkilis for the double play.

The Sox, who now have beaten Baltimore more times in a row (12) than ever before, should be thankful for Orioles pitching. Baltimore starters, in seven games against the Sox this season, have averaged only four innings with a 12.86 ERA (28 innings, 40 earned runs). Other teams' starters have posted a 3.99 ERA against Boston. The Sox are 15-14 in those games.

Rodrigo Lopez, previously a Sox killer, now can't get anybody out. He lasted only four innings plus three batters last night, knocked out by Lowell's two-run triple in the fifth. The triple, only the fourth of Lowell's career, was the 10th hit by the Sox off Lopez and accounted for the seventh and eighth runs off the right-hander. In three starts covering 15 1/3 innings this year, the Sox have pounded Lopez for an astounding 27 hits and 16 runs. He's taken losses in all three with an ERA of 9.39. Sox batters were coming to the plate in such rapid succession against Lopez that Youkilis had batted three times by the end of the third inning.

In the second, Varitek led off with a walk, and Wily Mo Pena sliced a ball to right-center that disappeared just to the side of the big scoreboard. The homer, his fourth of the season, carried an approximated 375 feet.

The Sox scored four more for a 6-2 lead in the third. David Ortiz doubled with no outs and scored on Varitek's RBI single. Pena, later in the inning with the bases loaded, broke his bat but muscled a two- run single to center. Gonzalez tacked on a run with a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, against John Halama, Varitek hit a two-run bomb to center, and Lowell followed with a solo shot to left.

The win was Beckett's, but the complete game wasn't. He probably could have finished. After needing 24 pitches in the first, he needed just 24 to complete the fifth, sixth, and seventh. But with the two rainouts, the bullpen needed some work.

 

at Camden Yards (Baltimore) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

2

4

0

2

0

0

0

3

 

11

13

0

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

1

3

0

W-Josh Beckett (5-1)
L-Rodrigo Lopez (1-6)
Attendance 25,607

2B-Youkilis (Bost)
3B-Lowell (Bost)
HR-Pena (Bost), Varitek (Bost), Lowell (Bost), Tejada (Balt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 5 0 1 .313  

 

Mark Loretta 2b 5 0 2 .278  

 

David Ortiz dh 5 1 1 .264  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 0 1 .303  

 

Willie Harris pr/cf 0 1 0 .136  

 

Trot Nixon rf 5 2 2 .316  

 

Jason Varitek c 2 4 2 .243  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 0 0 0 .176  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 4 2 2 .331  

 

Wily Mo Pena cf/lf 5 1 2 .321  

 

Alex Gonzalez ss 3 0 0 .220  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Josh Beckett 7 2 1 0 6  
  Julian Tavarez 1 0 0 0 2  
  Keith Foulke 1 1 0 0 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2006 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 22 14 -

 

 

New York Yankees 21 15 1

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 21 16 1 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 18 21 5 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 15 23 8