Red Sox - 010 200 110 - 5 6 1Beckett (6-7-5-0-9, 104) continued with his uncanny John Smoltz impersonation. Beckett did retire ten of his last 11 batters, but he had dug his teammates a 5-1 hole by then.
Rays - 131 000 03x - 8 12 0
They clawed back, though. In the fourth, Victor Martinez walked, Kevin Youkilis doubled, David Ortiz grounded out (5-2) J.D. Drew singled (5-3). In the seventh, Alex Gonzalez doubled and Martinez singled him home (5-4).
A trio of Tampa pitchers gave the Red Sox the tying run in the eighth. There were 33 pitches thrown in the inning, but none of them were put into play by Boston batters. Three walks loaded the bases and a wild pitch brought in the run that knotted the score at 5-5.
And only five pitches into the home half of the eighth, Tampa had regained a three-run lead. Ramon Ramirez, who had pitched a perfect seventh, allowed a double to Carlos Pena and an RBI single to Pat Burrell. Manny Delcarmen came in and his first pitch was crushed to deep left by Evan Longoria.
Martinez drew a one-out walk in the ninth, but Boston went quietly.
(At one point, five consecutive Boston batters were pitched to by five different Tampa relievers:
The Yankees beat the Orioles 10-2 (with a seven-run top of the 9th) and the Rangers beat the Blue Jays 6-4. Boston is now 7.5 GB in the East and 2.5 GA in the Wild Card.Garza - Martinez RBI single in 7th
Bradford - Youkilis F9 to end 7th
Choate - Ortiz BB to start 8th
Springer - Bay K, Gathright PR/SB
Balfour - Drew BB, Kotchman BB
Howell - WP, Gonzalez K, Ellsbury K to end 8th
Josh Beckett (3.80, 125 ERA+) / Matt Garza (3.95, 116 ERA+)
Dear Josh: You have a 9.82 ERA in your last three starts. In those games, 18.1 innings of work, you have allowed 10 home runs and opponents have a 1.106 OPS. This is completely unacceptable. If you are not hurt, as everyone insists, then kindly get your head out of your ass at once and start pitching properly. Thank you.
Also: Yankees/Orioles at 7 and Blue Jays/Rangers at 8.