BOSTON -- With the way Josh Beckett has been pitching and the Red Sox offense has been hitting, it would seem logical that Boston’s ace would be well past the 10-win mark by the end of the first week in August.
So much for logic.
Beckett was denied his 10th victory for the third start in a row Sunday night despite allowing only one earned run in six innings.
It was the 12th time Beckett has held his opponents to one run or fewer this season, trailing only Jered Weaver for most in the American League. Unfortunately for Beckett, it was also the fifth time this season he has allowed just one earned run but earned a no-decision, which is tops in the majors.
Beckett left the game after the sixth with the score knotted at 1-1 after the usually potent Sox offense mustered only one run off Yankees starter Freddy Garcia. The game wasn’t decided until early Monday morning, when Josh Reddick sent the sellout crowd home with a walk-off single in the 10th inning for a 3-2 Boston win. It was the sixth extra-inning affair in Beckett's starts this season.
“It was a battle. There’s no doubt about it,” said Beckett, who despite his strong showing wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance. “That’s a tough team to have one of those days against. My location wasn’t real crisp, got away with a few pitches, but saved myself with some off-speed pitches.”
Beckett’s only blemish came in the fifth inning when he surrendered a solo home run to Eduardo Nunez. Before the fifth, he had allowed just two base runners through the first four frames while striking out four.
“He left a fastball that caught too much of the plate to Nunez, but other than that, that’s kind of what we’ve come to expect every five or six days,” manager Terry Francona said. “Gives you a chance to win and doesn’t give up a lot of runs.”
Beckett continued his dominance of the Yankees this season, holding New York to one run or fewer while lasting at least six innings for the third time this year. In four starts against the Yankees, Beckett is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
“I’m proud of that, just because of how good a lineup that is,” Beckett said. “Even missing [Alex] Rodriguez, they’ve got a few other guys that have stepped up since he’s been gone, so it’s a tough lineup. You have to make pitches. You can’t just make pitches with your fastball. They’re a really good fastball-hitting team.”
Over his last five starts, Beckett has allowed just seven earned runs. Remarkably, he has won only one of those five starts while receiving one loss and three no-decisions. In all five of those games, Boston has scored three runs or fewer.
“We can’t help when we score runs and when we don’t,” a sympathetic Jason Varitek said. “I’m sure there’s probably going to be a time where we put up a 15-spot for him and he’s going to give up 8. It’ll even out. It usually does."