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Beckett's pitching, Gonzalez's hitting lead Boston

Sep 13, 2009 - 5:19 AM By HOWARD ULMAN AP Sports Writer

BOSTON(AP) -- Josh Beckett watched college football during a rain delay of more than 2 hours. Then he put on a show that Red Sox fans hadn't seen in a month.

Boston's ace got his first victory since Aug. 12, allowing one run on four hits, and Alex Gonzalez led an eight-run third inning as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-1 in a game called by rain in the top of the sixth Saturday night.

"There was a different football game on every TV that you walked by so we stayed pretty busy," before the game began 2 hours, 5 minutes late, Beckett said. "I've been through these situations enough to where I know that I can't expend a lot of energy worrying about when the game is going to start."

It was another encouraging sign for Beckett (15-6) after a four-game stretch in which he allowed 24 earned runs and 12 homers in 24 1-3 innings. His comeback began last Monday when he gave up three runs in seven innings in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in which he retired his last 10 batters.

"Hopefully, that will bring his confidence up for his next start," said Kevin Youkilis, who singled in a run in the third and hit his 25th homer of the year, a solo shot, in the fourth.

Beckett allowed just one single through four innings and two more in the fifth. The Rays' final hit was a double by Evan Longoria leading off the sixth, the last batter before the field was covered during a pouring rain. After a 55-minute delay, the game was called at 11:54 p.m.

Boston increased its AL wild-card lead to 3 games over Texas, which lost to Seattle. Tampa Bay's losing streak reached nine games.

For his last 2 1/2 games, the timing of Beckett's delivery improved and he avoided overthrowing the ball which had led to poorly located pitches, pitching coach John Farrell said. On Saturday, he struck out four and walked one.

"That's what I feel like I should do every time out," said Beckett, whose five-game winless stretch was his longest since July 29-Aug. 19, 2006. "You've just got to keep grinding every day and things end up working out."

There was no rain most of the time during the first delay, but forecasts showed improving conditions. Friday night's game was postponed by rain after just 12 minutes of play that began after a delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes. It was rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.

Wade Davis (0-1) was shelled after an outstanding major league debut six days earlier when he left with a 3-1 lead after seven innings - he allowed three hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. But Detroit's Brandon Inge hit a grand slam in the ninth off Russ Springer.

On Saturday, Davis retired the side in order in the first. He walked the first two batters in the second then struck out the last three. But he fell apart in the third when Gonzalez had two hits, two runs, three RBIs and a stolen base.

He didn't blame the rain delay.

"I had to get ready and then not get ready and then get ready a couple times," Davis said, "but it came down to I still felt good when I was out there and I didn't execute."

Gonzalez led off with a single, stole second and took third on Dustin Pedroia's one-out single. Then Victor Martinez, Youkilis and David Ortiz hit consecutive RBI singles for a 3-0 lead.

Jason Bay followed with a walk, loading the bases, and Youkilis scored on a wild pitch. J.D. Drew then was walked intentionally, reloading the bases, and Gonzalez cleared them with a double.

Dale Thayer replaced Davis and allowed an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury inside the first-base line that gave Beckett an 8-0 cushion.

"You can't give up that many runs in an inning and expect to beat him," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's going to put it on cruise control."

The rain resumed in the top of the fifth, but play continued as Tampa Bay scored its only run.

With one out, Akinori Iwamura singled, only the second hit off Beckett. Dioner Navarro was hit on the foot by a pitch and Jason Bartlett singled in a run before Carl Crawford flied out to end the fifth.

"It was a long day," Boston manager Terry Francona said, "but it was a productive day."

NOTES: Tampa Bay is 12-18 since Aug. 7 after going 52-34 from April 30 to Aug. 5. ... Martinez extended his hitting streak to 13 games, a stretch in which he is batting .356 (16 for 45). ... Youkilis went 2 for 2 with a walk and is hitting .400 in his last 13 games (18 for 45). ... Tampa Bay's Fernando Perez made a twisting catch in deep center field but struck out in both his at-bats. ... Boston won its sixth straight home game.






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  • Red Sox 9, Rays 1 - FINAL
    TAMPA BAY ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    J Bartlett ss 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .331
    C Crawford lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .302
    E Longoria 3b 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .280
    B Zobrist rf 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .278
    P Burrell dh 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .231
    W Aybar 1b 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .251
    A Iwamura

    Sep 12 11:58 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BARTLETT SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BARTLETT ON FIRST, D NAVARRO ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    BOSTON 9 TOP,5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.303, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 1, Red Sox 9  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 12 10:49 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KEVIN YOUKILIS (25) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF DALE THAYER.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0, BOSTON 9
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.229, 1-FOR-1, BB, RBI)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 9  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 12 10:33 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACOBY ELLSBURY SCORED ALEX GONZALEZ
    SITUATION: 8 RUNS IN, J ELLSBURY ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 8 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.296, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 8  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:23 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ALEX GONZALEZ SCORED J.D. DREW, JASON BAY AND
    DAVID ORTIZ
    SITUATION: 7 RUNS IN, A GONZALEZ ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 7 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J ELLSBURY (.299, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 7  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:19 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY WADE DAVIS ALLOWED KEVIN YOUKILIS TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J BAY ON SECOND, D ORTIZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 4 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J DREW (.265, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 4  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:15 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED VICTOR MARTINEZ
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, D ORTIZ ON FIRST, K YOUKILIS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J BAY (.263, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:11 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED DUSTIN PEDROIA
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K YOUKILIS ON FIRST, V MARTINEZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.228, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:10 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY VICTOR MARTINEZ SCORED ALEX GONZALEZ
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, V MARTINEZ ON FIRST, D PEDROIA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.313, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 12 10:07 PM
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