After losing six of their last seven, the Boston Red Sox have won four straight, including a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. After outscoring the Astros 17-9 in their first two games, the Red Sox could barely salvage any offense in yesterday’s finale but won anyway thanks to a superb outing by Josh Beckett, who pitched in front of family and friends.
The hometown boy struck out a season-high 11 batters over eight innings to improve to 7-3 on the year and helping his Red Sox improve to 49-25 overall. While he was on the mound, Beckett surrendered just five hits and walked none to give the Sox the sweep.
The first run of the game came in the top-half of the 4th inning when Jason Varitek hit a grounder that resulted in throwing error to home plate by Brett Wallace of the Astros. Kevin Youkilis scored on the error but at a price as Houston catcher Carlos Corporan landed on his already-ailing ankle. Youkilis, fortunately, shook it off and stayed in the game.
In the bottom of the 5th, Brett Wallce made up for his error by opening the inning with a double and then being driven home by Angel Sanchez immediately after. The score remained 1-1 until the top of the 9th when Jacoby Ellsbury was walked home on a bases-loaded walk for what proved to be a very anti-climactic game-winning run.
Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon came in to pitch in the 9th and had no trouble as he fanned all three batters he faced to pick up his 17th save of the season.
With interleague play behind them for now, the Boston Red Sox can now return home where they will open up a three-game season with the Toronto Blue Jays beginning tonight, then a four-game set beginning on Thursday when the Sox host the Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Sox picked up a game on the AL East-leading Yankees thanks to yesterday’s win. They now sit 1.5 ahead of their rivals from the Bronx and are now a week away from the All-Star break. The Sox certainly aren't satisfied but with the way things were in the first few weeks of the season, they'll gladly take this.