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On a rainy Tuesday afternoon which featured the honoring of Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox swept away the Seattle Mariners in the short two-games series with a 5-0 win, led by a dominate rebound start from Josh Beckett.
David Ortiz opened up the scoring in the third when he homered deep to right field off of Blake Beaven giving Boston a 1-0 lead. It was his eighth home run of the year and 27th RBI. Ortiz had two hits and is now batting .353 on the season.
In the fourth, Mike Aviles hit an RBI double into the right-center gap, adding to the team’s double count for the season. Entering the day, the Red Sox had just over 100 doubles, many. many more than the Kansas City Royals, who have the second most at 76. An RBI ground out by Ryan Sweeney made it 3-0. Aviles launched another RBI double in the 8th to extend the lead to 5-0.
Beaven was chased after just the four innings due to a high pitch count and the Boston batters making solid contact against him throughout. He threw 93 pitches, allowing 5 hits and the three runs, walking two and striking out four.
Beckett, on the other hand, overpowered the Mariners from the beginning, in similar fashion to Jon Lester‘s performance Monday night. He retired the first nine batters he faced, striking out six, including four in a row until Dustin Ackley reached on a weak infield single.
He picked apart the Seattle lineup by combining an array of pitches with excellent location, the latter of which had been the problem in his most recent start. On Tuesday, he pitched seven strong, allowing only four hits, no runs, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Had it not been for the rested Sox bullpen from Monday’s game, he probably could have seen another inning of work as he threw 93 pitches.
Rich Hill pitched a perfect 8th inning as he continues to establish himself as a reliable left-handed reliever. Hill has pitched 7.2 innings this year for the Red Sox and holds an impressive 1.17 ERA. Alfredo Aceves needed just 11 pitches in the ninth inning to close out the win, giving Boston straight victories to close out the homestand.
The Red Sox improved to 17-19 on the year as they get ready to head out on a challenging road trip. First up they play another short two-game series against in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Then, interleague play kicks off as they square off with the Phillies’ strong pitching staff in Philadelphia. Finally, next Monday they head to Baltimore, where the Orioles currently find themselves tied for first in the American League East.
The trip will say a lot about this Red Sox team, including whether or not they are going to be able to keep up their strong pitching as of late. In the five-game winning streak, each of the five Sox starters have delivered a quality start, the first time Boston pitching has done that since May of last year.