Beckett takes perfect game into sixth; BoSox dump Phils

BOSTON (AP) -- Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox are flirting with perfection.

The big right-hander retired his first 16 batters, his fielders played a club-record 11th consecutive errorless game and the team won its seventh straight, 10-2 over the Philadelphia Phillies on
Friday night.

And for the sixth game in a row, the Red Sox had at least 12 hits, including two homers and a double by Manny Ramirez that drove in five runs.

The Phillies didn't get their first hit until the sixth inning.

"I guess I'm not like everybody else because they all say that they don't even know that it's going on," Beckett said of a perfect game. "You look up there and it's nice to think those
kinds of things, but against a lineup like that it's pretty tough."

After rain delayed the start of the game by 43 minutes, Beckett threw just 57 pitches through five innings, recording five strikeouts and allowing three balls out of the infield.

Beckett (9-3) worked eight innings, allowing three hits -- including Chase Utley's two-run homer in the seventh -- with eight strikeouts and no walks. Mike Timlin pitched the ninth.

"It feels good that we're clicking," said third baseman Mike Lowell, who backhanded David Bell's liner in the third to rob him of a hit. "We're up 6-0 and it's the third inning. That's a good feeling. We can kind of cruise."

Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the first and the Red Sox added three in the second on a two-run single by Kevin Youkilis and an RBI double by Ramirez, who has 20 homers.

"He just has such a good idea of how pitchers want to attack him," manager Terry Francona said.

Beckett retired David Dellucci to start the sixth on a fly ball to center fielder Coco Crisp. But Bell grounded a clean single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch.

"He's always a pitcher that's capable of shutting teams down and you never give in and say, 'He's going to do that to us,'" Bell said. "But he was able to do it for five or six innings."

The 16 batters were the most retired by a Red Sox pitcher to start a game since Curt Schilling set down the first 17 Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park on May 30, 2004, his first year with Boston.

"His fastball was very good," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said of Beckett. "He definitely challenged our big hitters."

Beckett lost his shutout in the seventh on a leadoff double by Jimmy Rollins and Utley's 13th homer of the year with no outs. Then he retired the heart of the order -- Bobby Abreu on a flyout and Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard on strikeouts.

Beckett frequently threw his first pitch for a strike "and that exploits a lot of other options," he said.

Boston improved to 9-1 this season in interleague play, including all seven wins during the current streak -- a club record for consecutive wins against NL teams.

Ramirez has 41 homers in interleague play, tying him with Carlos Delgado and Rafael Palmeiro for second place behind Jim Thome's 49.

The Red Sox pounced on Ryan Madson (7-5) for six runs before he left with two outs in the second.

Madson didn't think he was distracted because Brett Myers, their
starter Saturday, was arrested early Friday and charged with hitting his wife in the face on a street near Fenway Park.

"No matter what happens off the field, once you get on the mound you're not thinking of anything else," Madson said. "I didn't establish what I wanted to establish early."

Ramirez lined a homer over the Green Monster in left field in the first after a double by Mark Loretta and walk to David Ortiz.

In the second, Boston loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Lowell and singles by Crisp and Alex Gonzalez. Youkilis followed with his two-run single and Ramirez doubled, chasing Madson.

Scott Mathieson retired the next batter, Trot Nixon, to end the inning and held Boston scoreless until Ramirez led off the seventh with his homer. Mathieson left with one out in the inning with a cramp in his calf but isn't expected to miss any time.

Gabe Kapler hit a three-run homer off Ryan Franklin in the eighth, one week after Kapler was activated from the disabled list after tearing his left Achilles' tendon last Sept. 14.

Game notes
Ramirez had the 46th multihomer game of his career and his third this season. He reached 20 homers for the 12th consecutive year and has 455 in his career, passing Thome, who had 454, for 28th place. ... Three of Beckett's previous scheduled starts were rained out. ... Abreu got his 1,500th hit on a single in the ninth. ... Howard struck out on all three of his at bats, giving him 74 in 73 games.