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Litsch, Blue Jays deny Beckett 13th win

Jul 15, 2007 - 11:03 PM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Jesse Litsch shut down the Boston Red Sox lineup as the Toronto Blue Jays took the rubber game of three-game series with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

A rookie righthander, Litsch outdueled Josh Beckett, denying the Boston ace a chance to become the first 13-game winner in the major leagues.

Litsch (2-3) pitched 6 2/3 innings, scattering nine hits and allowing just the one run while striking out a pair and walking one in his second start since being recalled from Class AAA Syracuse.

The 22-year-old Litsch, who is in his second tour of duty with the Blue Jays this season, pitched well in his last start, surrendering two runs - none earned - and seven hits over seven frames in a loss at Oakland.

"He can pitch," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Litsch. "He came up a couple of weeks ago out in Oakland and he's really doing a heck of a job for us. He hasn't had any jitters since day one he's been here. That's one thing about the kid, one of the reasons we brought him up so fast from Double-A. He's overflowing with confidence."

With the wind swirling and blowing out to center at 20 miles per hour all afternoon, the game turned into an unlikely pitcher's duel.

"It was a good ball game all the way around," Gibbons added. "You go out there and look at the way the flag was blowing today and you would never have expected 2-1. But (Litsch) was great."

Litsch got double-play grounders in the second and third, including from David Ortiz whose one-hopper back to the mound ended the third.

"He gave up some hits but he threw strikes," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He made a great pitch to David. He had a chance to get himself in a jam. He threw an off-speed pitch and got the double-play."

The lone run Litsch allowed Sunday came in the bottom of the sixth. Alex Cora led off with a double off the wall and scored on a double by All-Star Ortiz.

Litsch bore down and got Manny Ramirez to pop out to second. The rookie walked Kevin Youkilis to put two runners aboard before getting Mike Lowell to foul out to the catcher.

Eric Hinske followed with a single to right, but Ortiz was thrown out at home by All-Star right fielder Alex Rios.

Scott Downs relieved Litsch with two outs in the seventh and got pinch hitter Dustin Pedroia to ground out to end the inning.

Casey Janssen bridged the gap to closer Jeremy Accardo who pitched a perfect ninth to record his 13th save of the season.

The Blue Jays plated both of their runs off Beckett with two outs in the top of the second inning. Lyle Overbay doubled to center field, and Aaron Hill followed with a double of his own to plate Overbay, who finished with three hits.

Royce Clayton then ripped a singled to right field, scoring Hill to make it 2-0.

"I was the second-best pitcher today," Beckett said of his duel with Litsch. "Bottom line, get out-pitched, you lose and that's what happened today. I definitely think that I battled through some other innings. Being the second-best pitcher in one inning, sometimes that's enough to lose a ball game."

Beckett (12-3), who tossed a pair of scoreless innings to earn the win at Tuesday's All-Star Game, pitched eight strong innings. The righthander allowed two runs and seven hits, striking out eight and walking two.

In Beckett's last start, Boston batters pounded Tampa Bay pitching and gave the right-hander his 12th win with a 15-3 victory on July 5.

"I don't worry about that," Beckett said of Sunday's power outage. "I just go out there and try and get outs. We've got guys playing hurt and everything so I am not worried about them scoring 15 runs every time I pitch."

After splitting their four-game series at Fenway, the Blue Jays head to Yankee Stadium for a four-game set beginning Monday.

"We played a good series," Gibbons said. "(Saturday) night we came back to tie it and then it got away. We played pretty good in that first game, too. Here and Yankee Stadium are the two toughest places to play on the road, no question. It's not even close."

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek missed Sunday's game with a bruised right hand after getting crossed up by a Daisuke Matsuzaka fastball Saturday night.

"I know Jason would make himself available in December but that didn't need to happen," said Francona of not using Varitek as a pinch-hitter late in the game.

Boston was also without right fielder J.D. Drew, who missed his second straight game with a sore right hamstring.






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  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
    BOSTON 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 11 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - JESSE LITSCH, SCOTT DOWNS (7TH), CASEY JANSSEN (8TH), JEREMY
    ACCARDO (9TH) AND JASON PHILLIPS
    BOS - JOSH BECKETT, MIKE TIMLIN (9TH) AND DOUG
    MIRABELLI

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    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED ALEX CORA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M RAMIREZ (.287, 1-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. Red SoxJul 15 3:50 PM


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    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROYCE CLAYTON SCORED AARON HILL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R CLAYTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    BOSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: J PHILLIPS (.212, 1 HR, 12 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. Red SoxJul 15 2:34 PM


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    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AARON HILL SCORED LYLE OVERBAY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A HILL ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    BOSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: R CLAYTON (.236, 1 HR, 11 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. Red SoxJul 15 2:32 PM
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