for this game

Red Sox play small ball to help Beckett get sixth win

May 3, 2007 - 5:26 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Clutch hitting from the middle infielders is not the ideal winning formula for a team with a $160 million payroll, but the Boston Red Sox are not complaining.

Julio Lugo and Alex Cora each drove in a pair of runs as the Red Sox posted a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Lugo's seventh-inning RBI broke a tie and earned Josh Beckett (6-0) his sixth win in six starts this season. The righthander is the first Boston starter to win his first six starts since Roger Clemens in 1991.

"Anytime you're mentioned in the same sentence as very likely the greatest pitcher to ever live, it's nice," Beckett said.

Beckett yielded three runs and six hits while striking out seven in seven innings - retiring the first 12 batters he faced en route the win.

"I was getting a lot of ground balls," Beckett said. "That's always good whenever they're hitting the first three pitches and you're not going to get into a pitch-count problem and get into your bullpen in the fifth inning. That feels good."

"He's developing his own rhythm," catcher Jason Varitek said. "I still think it comes down to he's got more weapons he's utilizing. The key is, in spring training we spent a lot of time getting his changeup involved. It was still a quality start but not the best he's been."

The Red Sox's strong bullpen did not let their starter down. Hideki Okajima, April's American League Rookie of the Month, pitched a scoreless eighth inning and has now gone 13 straight appearances without allowing a run.

"He probably needs a day or two down," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He's been pitching a lot. It's so easy for me to want to keep going and get greedy. We need to be prudent and we will be. We'll use some discretion. We don't want to run him into the ground either."

With closer Jonathan Papelbon unavailable, Mike Timlin pitched the ninth, surrendering a run and two hits to pick up the save.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the third. A's starter Chad Gaudin walked Lugo to lead off the inning and the speedy shortstop promptly stole second and moved to third on Kevin Youkilis' infield single. David Ortiz picked up his team-leading 23rd RBI when his ground ball to the right side plated Lugo with the game's first run.

Boston added a second run in the fourth when Coco Crisp reached second on center fielder Ryan Langerhans' fielding error and came home on Lugo's single to center.

Oakland got to Beckett in the fifth inning. Mike Piazza led off with a single and moved to third on Dan Johnson's double. After Beckett fanned the next two hitters, Jason Kendall forged a tie when his single plated a pair of runs.

The A's added a run the sixth inning when Johnson's single scored Shannon Stewart from second base. Beckett escaped the jam when Lowell tagged Piazza out at third on a fielder's choice.

"I thought Beckett pitched very well," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Obviously, he is a great pitcher and we had a chance to actually beat him. We had some big hits and got ourselves in a position to win."

Piazza was injured on the play. Oakland's designated hitter was attempting to dive for third base when he collided with Lowell. Lowell appeared to roll over Piazza's arm, pinning his shoulder to the ground.

"Trying to avoid the tag, he kind of went in headfirst," Lowell said of the play. "I don't know what he had but he was holding his shoulder pretty good. It's just one of those freak things. I called over there to see if he was OK. I felt bad but what are you going to do."

The tag was the final out of the inning, but Piazza laid on the ground for several minutes, clutching his shoulder in pain before being helped off the field.

"He has a sprained AC joint and it's anticipated that he will be out four to six weeks," Geren said. "Obviously, that's not good for us but we'll do our best to keep fighting every day and we'll be all right. We'll figure something out."

Cora and Lugo gave the Red Sox the lead back in the bottom of sixth. After Gaudin surrendered a leadoff single to Jason Varitek, he was replaced by lefthander Jay Marshall, who immediately yielded a double to Crisp.

"That's a good characteristic of a winning team," Francona said. "Rather than hanging your head, come right back and get on the offensive. I thought Cora's at-bat was tremendous. What we needed him to do there was put the ball in play and stay up the middle of the field."

Cora plated Varitek with a grounder and Lugo brought home Crisp with a sacrifice fly.

Cora singled home an insurance run in the eighth.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 4 8 3
    BOSTON 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 1 x 6 13 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - CHAD GAUDIN, JAY MARSHALL (6TH), KIKO CALERO (6TH), ALAN
    EMBREE (7TH) AND JASON KENDALL
    BOS - JOSH BECKETT, HIDEKI OKAJIMA (8TH), MIKE TIMLIN
    (9TH) AND JASON

    May 2 10:18 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TODD WALKER SCORED BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T WALKER ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4
    BOSTON 6 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: S STEWART (.245, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 10:17 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY J.D. DREW SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS. .
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J DREW ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    BOSTON 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.312, 1-FOR-4)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 10:03 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ALEX CORA SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A CORA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    BOSTON 5 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J LUGO (.247, 1-FOR-2, BB, SF, 2 RBI)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 9:36 PM
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    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 9:09 PM
  • napanickg let's go SAWKS~!

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 9:08 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JULIO LUGO SCORED COCO CRISP.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    BOSTON 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.293, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:57 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ALEX CORA SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRISP ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J LUGO (.247, 1-FOR-2, BB, RBI)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:55 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DAN JOHNSON SCORED SHANNON STEWART.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JOHNSON ON FIRST, M PIAZZA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    BOSTON 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.221, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:43 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON KENDALL SCORED MIKE PIAZZA AND DAN JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J KENDALL ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    BOSTON 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: R LANGERHANS (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:27 PM
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    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:27 PM
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    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:15 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JULIO LUGO SCORED COCO CRISP.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J LUGO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.293, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 8:11 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED JULIO LUGO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M RAMIREZ (.213, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. Red SoxMay 2 7:48 PM