HR #19

A SAD END TO A RECORD SEASON
Josh Beckett wins one in Atlanta

June 17, 2006 ... To look out at left field at Turner Field an hour after today's 5-3 Red Sox win, long after the Tomahawk Chop cries and stadium bells and whistles had gone silent, was to look upon empty seats, plush grass, and a scoreboard that, for whatever reason, still glowed. There was simply a name and a number, "Papelbon, 0.26 ERA".

Josh Beckett needed 105 pitches to get 18 outs but did get the win, improving to 8-3 and positioning Papelbon for save No. 22 in 23 chances.

The Sox reclaimed a share of the pole position atop the A.L. East, 66 games into the season, despite the fact that the team's bullpen (Papelbon aside) is a shell of its former self and that two- fifths of the rotation is on the disabled list.

Kevin Youkilis, the catalyst, opened the game with a homer, his third leadoff homer of the season and eighth overall. David Ortiz made it 2-0 in the third, lining a run-scoring double to left on a 3-and-1 count against spot starter Lance Cormier, who was gone after seven hits and four runs in four innings. Ortiz, just 3 for 17 entering the game, came around to score on a Trot Nixon single to center.

Beckett, in the fourth inning, came to bat with one out and Alex Gonzalez (three hits) on second, having doubled. Beckett chopped a ball near home. Third baseman Wilson Betemit, playing in and anticipating a bunt, was helpless as the ball bounced over his head for an RBI single. With that Beckett knocked in his third run this year. All other American League pitchers went into yesterday with four RBIs combined in interleague play.

Ortiz, in the fifth, found himself leading off the inning and staring out at a familiar face, Mike Remlinger. Remlinger, now 40, lasted just eight games with the Sox last year, allowing 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. His career, last summer, looked over. But, he's back in Atlanta, where he's spent more time than anywhere else, and has a 3.74 ERA in a team-leading 34 appearances. Against Ortiz he went to 3 and 2, and with the bases empty left a fastball over the plate at 88 miles per hour. Ortiz hammered it into the Atlanta bullpen for his 19th homer of the year and a 5-1 lead.

Beckett would make it through six with just two Atlanta runs across, though he faced clear and present danger in the fifth, when, with one out the bottom two spots in the order accounted for singles. Beckett followed that with two four-pitch walks, to Marcus Giles and Edgar Renteria. Renteria's walk forced in a run.

Beckett recalibrated himself and got Betemit, who spelled Chipper Jones (sore right thumb), to pop to Gonzalez for a huge out. That brought up Andruw Jones, probably the NL's most fearsome hitter last year. Beckett started Jones off with a fastball high at 97 m.p.h. for a ball. He snapped off a curveball for a called strike. He then threw a fastball at 96 down the pipe that Jones took a gigantic but empty cut at. With Jones behind, 1 and 2, Beckett went up top, getting Jones to pop out on a fastball clocked at 98 m.p.h.

One thing Beckett really did was compete. He was somewhat effectively wild.

Terry Francona's phone rang in the morning at 8:15, the caller, one Manny Ramirez , explaining that his right knee was bothering him. So Francona sat Ramirez, opting for Kevin Youkilis in left field and Trot Nixon in the cleanup spot.

Until Francona's phone rang, the skipper was intending to give David Ortiz a day off. Ortiz went into yesterday just 3 for his last 17 (.176) and 19 for his last 86 (.221). Of greater importance, though, was not having Ortiz play three consecutive games in the field in a National League park (which he now will do). But after speaking with Ramirez, Francona dialed up Ortiz, who went on to have himself a day: a walk, a double, a solo homer, and two runs.

Alex Gonzalez played his 48th consecutive clean game at shortstop, equaling Rico Petrocelli's club record for consecutive errorless games by a shortstop. Petrocelli's record covered parts of two seasons (1968-69). Gonzalez also collected three hits. Over his last 17 games, he's batting .344 (22 for 64), improving his season average to .249.

 

at Turner Field (Atlanta) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

1

0

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

 

5

12

0

ATLANTA BRAVES

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

 

3

5

0

W-Josh Beckett (8-3)
S-Jonathan Papelbon (22)
L-Lance Cormier (2-2)
Attendance 49,364

2B-Loretta (Bost), Ortiz (Bost), Gonzalez (Bost),
  Lowell (Bost), A. Jones (Atl)
HR-Youkilis (Bost), Ortiz (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Kevin Youkilis lf/1b 4 1 1 .318  

 

Mark Loretta 2b 4 1 2 .297  

 

David Ortiz 1b 3 2 2 .264  

 

Man Delcarmen p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Julian Tavarez p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Javier Lopez p 0 0 0 .000  

 

J.T. Snow ph 0 0 0 .209  

 

Willie Harris pr 0 0 0 .167  

 

Jon Papelbon p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Trot Nixon rf 5 0 1 .317  

 

Jason Varitek c 3 0 0 .258  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 5 0 1 .314  

 

Coco Crisp cf 5 0 0 .262  

 

Alex Gonzalez ss 4 1 3 .249  

 

Josh Beckett p 3 0 1 .429  

 

Gabe Kapler lf 1 0 1 1.00  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Josh Beckett 6 3 2 4 5  
  Man Delcarmen 0.2 1 0 1 2  
  Julian Tavarez 1 1 1 0 1  
  Javier Lopez 0.1 0 0 0 1  
  Jon Papelbon 1 0 0 0 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2006 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 38 28 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 38 28 -

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 37 31 2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 32 38 8

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 29 40 10 1/2