Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sox can breathe easy -- for a day
On Monday, the sky was falling. On Tuesday, maybe things weren't so bad after all.
Such is the life of Red Sox fans these days.
A day after ace Josh Beckett left his start prematurely, talking of things popping in his ankle, and the Sox couldn't score for 11 innings, losing 1-0 to Toronto, the team turned the tables on the Jays, rolling to a 14-0 win, and got what on the surface seems like positive news on Beckett's injury.
The Red Sox hope Beckett won't miss more than a start or two, but will have a better idea of his status in the next few days, a team source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.
Jon Lester is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in his last five starts.
LESTER DELIVERS: The Sox hadn't gotten word on Beckett's ankle when the game started and for the good of their collective psyche, their fans needed to see Boston's last big gun standing -- Jon Lester -- perform at or near the top of his game. Lester delivered, allowing just three hits and walking one while striking out 11 over seven innings.
Lester improved to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in five starts since losing at Minnesota on Aug. 10. He is the first Sox lefty since Lefty Grove in 1936 to give up one run or fewer in five straight starts.
"He threw strikes, he threw his cutter with some power to it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That was good to see."
Of course, the fact that he had a sizable lead before he even took the hill couldn't have hurt.
HEAVY HITTERS: The Sox jumped all over young Luis Perez, scoring four runs in the first inning. Perez was gone before the end of the third, having allowed eight runs and 10 hits.
Even with Perez gone, the Sox kept hitting and scoring. It was 13-0 after five, and according to Elias, it was the first time in franchise history they scored two or more runs in each of the first five innings.
Every starter had at least one hit except Dustin Pedroia, who hit the ball as hard as just about anyone but had nothing to show for it. David Ortiz and Marco Scutaro led the hit parade with four hits apiece. Scutaro knocked in four runs scored two more, and had three of the Sox's nine doubles.
"I've been hitting the ball good for three weeks and it seems like everything I hit is right at people or they're making diving plays," said Scutaro, who was batting sixth in the lineup, an unusual spot for him. "It's nice to have a day like this."
Francona said he moved Scutaro up to give the lineup better balance. It certainly paid off.
"He had a great night," Francona said. "He swung the bat terrific."
CENTURY CLUB:Jacoby Ellsbury scored twice to bring his season total to 100 ... Nate Spears made his major league debut in the fifth, replacing Carl Crawford in left. Jed Lowrie, sidelined for the past two games with a sore left shoulder, came on in the seventh and played first base.