Beckett: 'It would be nice to win'
August, 15, 2012
By Jeff Seidel, Special to ESPNBoston.com
BALTIMORE -- Home runs didn’t bother Josh Beckett for awhile. But they’re bugging the right-hander again.
Beckett went 12 starts without giving up a homer before Texas tapped him for three in his last start. He had trouble again Tuesday night -- and mostly with the bottom of the Baltimore lineup -- as Mark Reynolds and Omar Quintanilla both went deep to start an inning as the Orioles beat the Red Sox, 7-1.
The Tigers bashed five homers off Beckett in his first start this season on April 7. He wound up giving up nine homers in his first five starts before settling down and not giving up one from May 16-Aug. 8.
But Quintanilla, who bats ninth, blasted a shot to right on the first pitch of the bottom of the third, and Reynolds, who bats seventh, lined a leadoff homer to right on the second pitch of bottom of the fifth. The Reynolds homer snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Orioles the lead for good.
"The home run to Quintanilla, he was hitting ninth but leading off that inning. I figured he was taking, so ... I was trying to get ahead of him. He ambushed me," said Beckett, who fell to 5-10 on the season. "The one to Reynolds. I left it up. You can't do that. He's a big strong guy.
"The sixth inning, all kinds of [stuff] happened. I felt l like I was down, for the most part. It would be nice to win a game, but I've got to pitch better. Can't put these guys in a hole like that. The key for me here is just keep the ball down. This is not a real friendly ballpark, and you've got to keep the ball down."
"I thought was as good as we've seen him in awhile," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He had a couple of mistakes, leadoff hitters for home runs. [In] the sixth inning, with that check swing on the curveball, he didn't get it and the hopper over the mound and seeing-eye base hit up the middle, Katy bar the door."
When Valentine pulled Beckett in the sixth, a large contingent of Red Sox fans at Camden loudly booed Beckett as he left. Must have made him feel like he was at Fenway.
But what came next wasn't very pleasing either as Reynolds greeted Mark Melancon with a three-run blast on the first pitch the right-hander threw (two of the runs were charged to Beckett). That gave Baltimore a 7-1 lead in the sixth and broke the game open.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: The Red Sox had plenty of chances to score, but they just couldn’t come through.
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up one run in six innings-plus but never set down the Sox in order. The Red Sox put runners in scoring position in five of the six full innings Chen pitched but couldn’t get hits at the right time.
Boston finished the night 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base. They stranded two in the third and sixth and left the bases loaded in the seventh, wasting good chances every time.
The Orioles, meanwhile, went 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left only three on base. That was the difference.
SOMETHING ABOUT BALTIMORE: Jacoby Ellsbury knows how to hit, but there’s something about the Orioles that brings out his best.
Ellsbury went 2-for-5 in the loss and has a 37-game hitting streak against the Orioles that stretches all the way back to April 2009.
He kept the streak alive with a single to left field leading off the game. He’s now batting .416 (69-for-166) during the streak.
It’s the longest hitting streak against the Orioles franchise, going all the way back to their days as the St. Louis Browns. Back then, Earl Averill (1929-31) and Jimmie Foxx (1935-36) had 31-game hitting streaks. But Ellsbury’s left them in the dust.
In fact, this streak against the Orioles is the longest ever by a Boston player against any opponent. He’ll try to keep it alive in Wednesday’s game.
THE GOOD NEWS: Andrew Bailey made his Boston debut in the eighth inning, getting the last out.
Bailey has been out the entire season after needing thumb surgery in early April. The Red Sox were hoping he'd be their closer this season, but this was his first appearance. He walked Chris Davis before striking out Reynolds.
Valentine said before the game that Bailey wouldn't be the closer right away, but he'd be used late in games.