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Youkilis' bases-loaded walk pushes Red Sox past Astros

Jul 3, 2011 - 11:15 PM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Kevin Youkilis' bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth forced in the deciding run as Boston clipped Houston, 2-1, in the finale of a three-game interleague set.

Jacoby Ellsbury notched a pair of hits and Drew Sutton scored the deciding run for the Red Sox, who swept the series and have won four straight overall.

Josh Beckett (7-3) fanned a season-high 11 batters over eight solid innings, in which he allowed five hits and one run. Jonathan Papelbon turned in a scoreless ninth with three strikeouts to post his 17th save.

"I think my energy level was just up," Beckett, who had battled the flu in recent weeks, said. "I had been struggling with a cough in my last start, but today I just felt better physically."

Brett Wallace posted two hits and Angel Sanchez knocked in the lone run for the Astros, who have lost 11 out of their last 13.

Mark Melancon (5-2) walked three in the ninth and took the loss.

After retiring Jason Varitek to start the ninth, Melancon walked pinch-hitter Sutton, then Ellsbury singled. Dustin Pedroia's fielder's choice left runners on the corners, and Adrian Gonzalez drew a free pass to load the bases. The move backfired as Youkilis followed by working a walk to force in Sutton and the Sox led, 2-1.

Papelbon allowed a two-out single to Wallace, but ended the game by striking out Chris Johnson looking.

"It's tough because we were in the game, every game, but we just couldn't get over that hump," said Astros outfielder Michael Bourn. "They didn't give anything away. Even after they won the first two games, they were still able to pull it out today."

In the fourth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Varitek, who reached first on Wallace's throwing error to score a run.

Houston struck in the fifth when Wallace hit a leadoff double and came around three batters later on a Sanchez pinch-hit RBI single.

Game Notes

Beckett's previous high was 10 strikeouts, against the Yankees on April 10...The Red Sox completed interleague play with a 10-8 record, while the Astros finished at 4-11...In terms of the All-Star rosters, which were announced earlier Sunday, Gonzalez was voted an AL starter at first base and Ortiz as DH. while Beckett and Ellsbury were named as reserves...Houston outfielder Hunter Pence was selected as a reserve.