Another tremendous start from Josh Beckett has left the Sox winners in their series in Philadelphia, and once again just one game shy of a .500 mark that seemed to have left them far behind not long ago.
Though Jon Lester had been somewhat of a letdown after his last strong performance, Josh Beckett proved anything but in trying to follow his seven innings of shutout ball against the Mariners. Allowing just the one run on a sacrifice fly, Beckett took the Sox through two outs in the eighth inning before finally departing.
While Josh didn't quite have the strikeouts rolling in at the same speed as last time, he induced plenty of ground balls and weak contact to make it work, with four of Philly's seven hits never leaving the infield.
He received some surprising help at first base from David Ortiz, who flashed the leather on a few plays that likely kept a run or two off the board.
The Sox' offense, while not lasting, got to Cliff Lee in a hurry thanks to hot bats staying hot. Mike Aviles once again led the game off with a solo shot to left field, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the biggest hit of the night, blasting a three-run shot to center that not only cleared the green wall in center, but the brick one behind it.
The only really troubling moment came in the eighth, when Beckett allowed a run to come in and put runners on first and second before being pulled for Vicente Padilla. Padilla would get ahead of both his hitters 0-2 before wasting his good work by nibbling outside the strike zone. The first time it resulted in a walk to load the bases, but against Ty Wigginton the result was an easy ground ball for Dustin Pedroia. Alfredo Aceves finished off the non-save situation in style with a 1-2-3 ninth.
It's on to Baltimore next. They started this 20 games in 20 days run by sweeping the Sox. It would be fitting for the Sox to end it with some payback.