On the mound for the Rays was 24-year old Jeremy Hellickson, who made his second start against the Red Sox this season. As he did the time before back in April, Hellickson pitched very well in this one. He pitched seven strong innings, giving up three earned runs on on only four hits while fanning two.
Through six innings, Hellickson kept the Red Sox scoreless as he only allowed two total hits and was riding on a streak of eight straight Red Sox hitters retired. He ran into trouble in the seventh inning when he allowed a one-out triple to Dustin Pedroia. As any other pitcher would do, he decided to put Adrian Gonzalez on intentionally in game changing RBI situation. However that proved to be a costly mistake, for Hellickson.
Kevin Youkilis stepped into the batters box and took a 0-1 pitch from Hellickson and blasted it into left field for a three-run homer, allowing Boston to take the lead, 3-0. Youk's homer marks the first run(s) the Sox have scored against Hellickson this season. This is all the Red Sox starter, Josh Beckett would need.
Beckett began the night looking for victory number six on the season and his first against the Rays this season. He would do just that. Beckett pitched an absolute gem for Boston tonight, tossing nine shutout innings, allowing one total hit while fanning six Rays hitters. One stat that certainly stands out for Beckett was that he didn't allow a single walk this evening.
If it hadn't been for a Reid Brignac single in the third inning, this man would have had a perfect game. But a complete game shutout will do just fine.
Beckett showed us all tonight that he is indeed back to his Cy Young type form with his performance tonight. With the offense going as of late, he and the rest of the pitching rotation will look to back up big offense with great pitching.
Tomorrow, the Red Sox will look to take the rubber game in the series against the Rays tomorrow night, when Clay Buchholz takes the mound against David Price.