Mike Lowell hadn't started a major league game since June 13. He hadn't even had a major league at bat since June 22. As recently as Monday it looked like Lowell was headed towards release. But after an extended stint on the disabled list and five games in the minor leagues, Lowell returned to Fenway to replace the injured Kevin Youkilis. After receiving a standing ovation from the crow, Lowell saw his first major league pitch in 50 days, and promptly knocked it into the monster seats for a two run homer.
While Bill Hall would add a solo shot in the fourth, Lowell's home run would be all the Red Sox needed to back up a dominant Josh Beckett. Other than a pair of wild pitches that caught Shelley Duncan on the arm and Shin-Soo Choo (sending the latter to the ground in pain), and a leadoff homer in the third inning to Lou Marson, Beckett was on tonight. Utilizing a strong curveball, Beckett held the Indians lineup to just one run on three hits over eight innings, striking out eight batters without allowing a walk beyond the pair of hit batsmen.
One day after losing their star catching prospect in a violent collision at the plate, the Indians took exception to those two painful plate appearances. With David Ortiz at bat in the seventh, reliever Justin Germano threw behind David Ortiz' knees. It seemed like things were done with--Beckett plunked some Indians, likely by accident, and the Indians responded with a statement pitch before getting Ortiz to ground out. But then, in the eighth, the first pitch of the inning from Jensen Lewis went behind Beltre, who took a few steps towards the mound.
The home plate umpire and Marson got between Beltre and Lewis in a hurry, but both benches cleared, and when Josh Beckett and Shelley Duncan started shouting at eachother, things got heated, with Beckett having to be restrained. Just when things seemed to calm down, Terry Francona started back towards the Indians, in a shouting match with third base coach Steve Smith (likely just taking out his frustration with certain other third base coaches). By the time all was said and done, Beckett, Lewis, and Smith were all tossed from the game. Not exactly the most violent of brawls, but sparks none the left.
The end of the game, fortunately, came with significantly less action, as Jonathan Papelbon quietly put away the three batters he faced in the ninth to record a much needed clean save.