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Josh Beckett pitched a three-hit complete game shutout en route to a 6-0 thrashing of the Kansas City Royals, giving the Sox a 2.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. The Red Sox quickly gave Beckett the lead with Kevin Youkilis singling in Dustin Pedroia in the first inning and would not look back. Youkilis, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Rocco Baldelli, and newcomer Aaron Bates would all pitch in with one RBI apiece. An additional run was scored in the 5th inning when Nick Green scored in the process of Jacoby Ellsbury’s double play.
The Royals got their first hit of the game in the fourth inning from leadoff man David DeJesus, who moved third on a sacrifice bunt by Mitch Maier with one out. Billy Butler grounded out to Dustin Pedroia, who looked DeJesus back onto third before throwing Butler out. Mark Teahen would then ground out to end the inning. In another scoring chance, the Royals loaded the bases with one out in the 7th inning, but promptly grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Of note in the game was Jason Bay, who had five plate appearances, but did not get a single at bat. He walked his first three times up and was hit by a pitch in his latter two at bats. In fact, a strike was not called against him until the 16th pitch he saw in the game (his fifth at bat in the eighth inning).
Aaron Bates, who was recently called up to replace the injured Mike Lowell at first base, managed to get two doubles and a single in his first three appearances (in that order) to get more hits than any other Red Sox hitter, and the same number of hits as the entire Royal roster. Add an incredible catch on a line drive in the 5th to his three-hit effort, and Bates has really stepped up to the plate lately.
Beckett only allowed three hits, no walks, one hit by pitch, and recorded seven strikeouts in a complete game shutout. Enough said.
If you really want to complain about someone, David Ortiz struck out three times in his first four at bats, though he did get an RBI out of a groundout and then a double in the 8th, so he did alright.
“He was so good today. That was fun to watch.” – Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Josh Beckett.
W: Josh Beckett (11-3)
L: Bruce Chen (0-4)