The reception for Pedro Martinez when he took the mound for the bottom of the first inning sounded tepid and perfunctory. I expected a much more raucous ovation; perhaps that happened before Extra Innings picked up the ESPN feed. I hope so. (SoSHers thought the reception was 90% cheers and 10% boos. If so, we may have to rethink the perception of Red Sox fans as intelligent. Ten percent morons is not good.)
The Red Sox wasted little time to knock Martinez's pitches around the lot. He missed location with all of his pitches, and his fastball was nothing out of the ordinary. Youkilis and Loretta began the inning with singles. Ortiz grounded back to the mound. It should have been a double play ball, but Pedro after looked at third, he glanced at second (where he had a good shot at forcing Loretta), then threw to first for one out.
Ramirez walked to load the bases. Nixon hit a sacrifice fly to center for one run, Varitek singled to center for a second, and Lowell got two bases (and brought in two unearned runs) when Lastings Milledge dropped his fly ball at the left field warning track. (Milledge has had nothing but nightmares in left the past two nights; I felt sorry for him on Lowell's fly.) After one inning, it was 4-0 Red Sox.
Boston scored four more times against Pedro in the third: Ramirez double, Nixon RBI single, Varitek single, Lowell 6-4-3 DP, Crisp walk, Gonzalez 2-run home run to left. And that was the end of Martinez's night (his shortest outing of the season): 3 innings, 7 hits, 8 runs, 6 earned, 2 walks, 1 strikeout (75 pitches).
On the other side, Josh Beckett was superb. Through seven innings, he allowed only four hits (including two solo home runs) and no walks, throwing only 86 pitches. After allowing a two-out double in the eighth, he battled Carlos Beltran through 13 pitches, eventually walking him. Javier Lopez came in and struck out Carlos Delgado. Manny Delcarmen pitched the ninth, striking out two.
It was Boston's 11 straight win, the first time the team has won more than 10 in a row since August 3-14, 1995.
Pedro Martinez (3.01) / Josh Beckett (4.84), 7 PM