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Recently named American League All-Star Josh Beckett proved his mettle once again Sunday afternoon as he helped lift his team to 49-34 on the season, completing the three-game sweep of the Astros.
Beckett (7-3) pitched 8 innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, no walks and accumulating a season high 11 strike outs. He also scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, following a Mark Melancon intentional walk of Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases, and ensuing unintentional walk of Kevin Youkilis.
The Red Sox earned their other run in the fourth inning when Brett Wallace committed an error allowing Youkilis to score the first run of the game.
The Astros came back to tie it when Angel Sanchez hit an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Jonathan Papelbon relieved Josh Beckett and allowed just one hit and 13 strikes on 20 pitches to record his 17th save.
With one out in the eighth, Josh Reddick walked and the Red Sox brought out David Ortiz to pinch hit. He finished his limited play at designated hitter by grounding into a double play to finish 0-11 in the interleague roadtrip.
Houston’s rookie starting pitcher Jordan Lyles had an underwhelming performance after two solid innings to start the game. He allowed three hits and a run with five strikeouts in five innings pitched, but did not get the decision. Lyles has started seven games this year and has yet to record a victory as the youngest player in the major league.
Although the game was tied at 1-1 heading into the ninth, the Astros sent five different pitchers to the mound, compared to just Beckett and Papelbon appearing for the Red Sox. If it weren’t for the fact that the Red Sox seem nearly incapable of hitting well with runners in scoring position lately, the Astros bull pen would have been terribly embarrassed; moreso than they already were. The Sox left the bases loaded three time in the game, and scored on a bases loaded walk and an error by the Astros first basemen. The Sox could have easily won the game 10-1 rather than squeaking by with a steal of a win provided them by their pitching.
David Ortiz looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy, falling into a hitting slump while seeing limited playing time during their inter-league road trip. Perhaps his recent promotion to captain of the American League hitters in the Home Run Derby will inspire him to get things back on track when they return home to Fenway on Independence Day to play the Blue Jays.
Josh Beckett seemed to have recovered from his mini-meltdown against Cliff Lee and the Phillies last week, rising to the occasion on the day that he was voted on the American League All-Star team for the third time as a member of the Red Sox. Beckett started out a little shaky in the first inning after Lyles came out guns blazing. But, as has been typical in this 2011 season, he composed himself and went on pitch well enough to keep his highly unproductive offense in the game.