For six innings, Josh Beckett looked like the guy who struck fear in the hearts of his opponents last October. He scattered five hits, and left runners on third base with less than two outs on two separate occasions. He threw very few pitches, and looked like he'd go all the way in yesterday's game at Anaheim.
He did go all the way: eight innings in a 4-2 loss to the Angels.
Kevin Youkilis hit his 17th home run, a two-run shot in the second, and it looked like it would hold up. But the Red Sox could not add to it, and they had opportunities to do so.
It all came apart on Beckett in the seventh, as he gave up a leadoff homer to Vladimir Guerrero, and then put two more men on base. A sacrifice and an intentional walk brought up Erick Aybar as a pinch-hitter, and he promptly tripled down the right field line to make it 4-2 L.A. Coco Crisp made a sensational catch up against the wall in right center or it would have been more.
But the Red Sox once again had opportunities to get back in it, as they had two on in the eighth, but Jed Lowrie struck out to end the inning. In the ninth, they again had two on with one out, and Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell coming up. But both popped up to the infield to end a frustrating day. The Yankees got a really cheap-ass win in New York, a bases loaded hit batsman in the 12th inning gave them a win, and Tampa Bay beat Toronto last night to put the Red Sox 1 1/2 games back.
The news from Pawtucket continues to be good, as David Ortiz went 1-for-4 last night in the PawSox loss, but the one hit was another homer, his third straight game with one. He actually plays his final game with the PawSox today before moving over to Portland later this week for the final three of his rehab stint.
Tim Wakefield takes the hill today to avoid a sweep. The Red Sox are now 21-31 on the road this season. They have to find a way to improve their lot away from home. They head for Seattle after today's game for three, a place that's been a house of horrors for them in recent years, no matter how bad the Mariners have been.