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Take John Smoltz, subtract 15 years, and what do you get? Josh Beckett, of course. The ace was in the place last night, striking out 10 Athletics through seven innings of work for his 12th win of the season. Beckett frequently looked completely dominant, particularly in the fourth and fifth innings, as the Oakland offense went meekly before his 96-97 mile an hour fastball and sharp breaking ball. He also threw just 15 balls through his first six innings of work, which is pretty decent control, I guess.
Whether the bats were starting to warm up is still a matter of debate, despite the 8-3 scoreline: A’s starter Trevor Cahill was pretty shaky from the outset, giving up a solo shot to the second Sox hitter of the evening, Dustin Pedroia. Nevertheless, banging out 14 hits has to be good for the offense’s morale, especially on a night when every Sox hitter got at least one. Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 5 with a triple and an RBI, Pedroia was 2 for 4 with a pair knocked in, and Adam LaRoche continued to wow the Fenway faithful, pounding two doubles in four at-bats.
Beckett’s strong start, the Boston bats looking more like their old selves, and some shocking defensive play from the A’s combined to put the result beyond any doubt.
With respect to hitters, Josh Beckett was overpoweringly filthy last night. At some points, he made a big-league offense look like a crowd of little leaguers.
Did you read the recap? It was all good!
“I think through the first six innings, he threw 12 balls,” said [Trevor] Cahill, whose guess was just three short of Beckett’s actual total. “He was just pounding the zone, forcing guys to swing the bat. That’s what I was trying to do.” (Courtesy MLB.com)
I’m still not quite sure what happened in the top of the third inning. Here’s what the NESN live blog had to say:
“Eric Patterson led off with a single, then tried to steal second as Adam Kennedy popped out to Youkilis. Patterson hustled back to first base to beat Beckett to the bag. One problem: Patterson failed to touch second on the way back. Beckett threw to Pedroia, and Patterson was called out.”
My hat is off to them, because my note for that play read as follows: “Double play? What the f**k just happened?”