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Winners of Game 1 of the series, the Red Sox entered Saturday’s matchup with a tall order: beat CC Sabathia for a chance to reach .500 with a victory on Sunday. While there are no guarantees in baseball, the Red Sox are continuing to dig out of their early season slump. In the first two games against the Yankees, Boston has taken down two of the sport’s larger stars (Bartolo Colon on Friday, Sabathia on Saturday).
Behind a rejuvenated Josh Beckett, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 6-0 in the Bronx.
After the first start of the 2011 season, Beckett has pitched like a man on a mission and Saturday night was no different: 6 innings, 9 Ks, 2 walks, 4 hits and 0 runs against the formidable Yankees lineup. While New York entered this series after losing two out of three to a surging Royals team, the motivated Texan deserves no less praise for his outing. This is Beckett at his best. This is the man who you would trade Hanley Ramirez for. And Saturday Beckett was not alone; his offense came alive in Yankee Stadium too.
Sabathia held the Sox scoreless through four innings, but in the fifth, Jacoby Ellsbury chipped in with some clutch hitting and knocked in two runs on a bases-loaded double.
In the seventh, Sox hitters took to the plate looking for more. Mike Cameron took a leadoff walk and smartly advanced to second base on a wild pitch to Carl Crawford. After Sabathia struck out the speedy left fielder, Jason Varitek, the struggling catcher and captain, drove in Cameron for the Red Sox third run of the night. Pedroia collected a two-out single to right, scoring Varitek and setting the table for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Like clockwork, Gonzalez launched a high fastball into the stands and put the Red Sox on top 6-0.
With a six-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh and Josh Beckett at 105 pitches after six innings, Terry Francona turned to Matt Albers for two innings of scoreless relief. The former Oriole allowed two hits and a walk against two strikeouts.
One of the new faces in the bullpen, Rich Hill, took the mound for the ninth inning and recorded the final three outs. Brett Gardener led off the inning and reached first base on an infield hit, but Hill retired the next three men he faced to finish the game and put the Red Sox one game under .500 for the year.
Josh Beckett is pitching as well as he ever has and is doing so against good-hitting teams. Beckett’s return to form is one of the best surprises for the Sox this season and Saturday night was as good as any start he has made in a Red Sox uniform.
Big Papi just did not have it against Sabathia in this game. Facing one of the toughest left-handed pitchers in the game is a tough assignment for anyone, especially a fellow southpaw.
W: Beckett (3-1)
L: Sabathia (3-3)