Josh "Gopher" Beckett strikes again. Boston held a 3-1 lead after two innings, but Beckett couldn't keep the ball in the park. He allowed at least three home runs in a start for the sixth time this season (he's given up 31 homers altogether this year). (Box)
The first shot was from Aaron Boone -- who wasn't much booed either when he stepped into the batter's box or when he drilled the first pitch off the left field pole for a home run (wtf is wrong with you, Fenway fans?) -- then it was Travis Hafner (two-run) and Shin-Soo Choo (grand slam) in the sixth. Beckett (6-11-7-0-3, 88) allowed seven consecutive hits in that sixth inning. The Sox were in a 7-3 hole.
But they came right back -- as quickly as possible -- in the bottom of the sixth. Jake Westbrook's first three pitches were hit for singles (Wily Mo Pena, Coco Crisp, and Alex Gonzalez). Ken Huckaby did the one thing I told him not to do, hit into a double play. That scored one run and Kevin Youkilis's single brought in another, but Boston still trailed 7-5.
The Red Sox rallied in the 8th against Westbrook. Crisp and Gonzalez singled and pinch-hitter Alex Cora bunted them to second and third. Youkilis's sac fly made the score 7-6, but that was as close as Boston could get. Mark Loretta flied to center to end the 8th. And in the 9th, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez both flew out to right, and Doug Mirabelli fouled out to the catcher.
Westbrook (8-15-6-1-1, 118) allowed the most hits in one game of any pitcher in the major leagues this year.
Manny extended his hitting streak to 19 games. ... Youkilis, Crisp and Gonzalez each had three hits. ... And Craig Hansen pitched out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the seventh, getting Casey Blake to hit into a 6-4-3 DP.
And for the second time this series, Canada's Sportsnet carried the NESN broadcast. ?!?! This also happened on Monday night, when the Blue Jays were off. I was suffering with ESPN, but when Laura came home from work in the eighth inning and turned on the other TV, she quickly yelled down "NESN's on!" Why, I don't know. But we got to hear Orsillo nearly have a stroke when Papi hit his game-winning blast.
And since the Jays had "played" this afternoon - thanks, Toronto! -- I checked out channel 22 again. And sure enough, there was Don and Jerry. So I quickly bid adieu to ESPN's Gary Thorne and Buck "Nasal" Martinez. ... Sportsnet, I don't know why you're carrying NESN, but keep it up. Hell, bump a few Jays games. They're out of the race anyway.
Gordon Edes of the Globe says the Sox have deal in place for Baltimore catcher Javier Lopez. ... Tonight, though, Ken ".207 in Pawtucket" Huckaby gets his first start tonight; he's batting 9th.
Jake Westbrook (4.31) / Josh Beckett (4.76), 7 PM
Beckett allowed four hits, four walks and three runs in six innings in his last start, against the Angels on Saturday. He is 6-1 with a 3.22 ERA at Fenway Park this season. ... In his last two starts, against the Twins and Mariners, Westbrook has allowed a total of only five earned runs in 14 innings. But Cleveland has lost both games, both by a 3-1 score.
The Yankees beat Toronto this afternoon 8-1, dropping the Blue Jays 8.5 games out of first.