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Beckett Strong as Sox Take AL East Lead

In a dramatic turn of fortunes, the Tampa Bay Rays are in a fight for first place with the usually strong Red Sox. These games are close and actually meaningful, even in June. The Red Sox won the latest installment of this budding rivalry 5-1 behind solid pitching from Josh Beckett.

Tempers flared in a very intense game that saw controversy when Coco Crisp slid hard into second base. After being called out, Coco returned to the dugout and Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to check on his player. Maddon and Coco exchanged a few four-letter words. In another incident, B.J. Upton was thrown out after arguing balls and strikes. Is this really Rays vs. Red Sox?

Sox Stud of the Game:

J.D. Drew has really stepped up at the plate while David Ortiz has been out of the lineup. He went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored and a walk: the ideal line for your No. 3 hitter. Get on base (Drew was successful 3 out of 4 times) and show some power (Drew had an RBI double).

Diamond Dud of the Game:

Dustin Pedroia continues to slip further and further. He went 0-3 with a walk, dropping his batting average to .273. He argued with an umpire about a HR that was called foul, showing that he still has the intensity and he obviously cares that he wants to succeed. Well, in my book if you don’t perform you are a Dud…but he will be back.

Game Notes:

  • Beckett allowed only one run in six innings of work for his sixth win.
  • The Sox bullpen pitched three scoreless innings yet again.
  • Craig Hansen has been especially strong as of late, and pitched another scoreless inning against the Rays. His ERA is now below 5.00 at 4.91.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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