Last night it appeared that John Danks had the Red Sox number. He retired the first 17 Red Sox batters he faced. He looked strong, had a 1-0 lead and it appeared as if the Red Sox couldn't wait to get on the plane and fly back to Boston. (This was the third or fourth time I can think of where the Red Sox were no-hit for at least five or six innings this season.)
But the perfect game ended when he hit Jacoby Ellsbury in the wallet with a 1-1 pitch. The no-no continued into the seventh, but it came to end on Kevin Youkilis' broken bat single to left. After a walk to Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew banged a double to left to put the Red Sox in the lead, 2-1.
Overlooked was a fine performance the Red Sox were getting from Josh Beckett. He allowed just a sacrifice fly in the third. It looked like it might be wasted, but the Sox bats finally came alive. They added three insurance runs in the ninth, with Jed Lowrie's 2 RBI double the big hit. (He now has 24 RBI on the season, and continues to get one key hit after another. Julio Lugo can take his time coming back.)
Beckett pitched eight solid innings in getting his 11th win of the season, allowing just seven hits and struck out eight. Knuckleballer Charlie Zink makes his MLB debut tonight against Texas. The 28-year old righthander was 13-4 with a 2.89 ERA at Pawtucket this season. On TV last night, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy commented that Zink has a better fastball and changeup than Tim Wakefield does, but his knuckler isn't as "violent" as Wake's is. Should be interesting to see how the Texas Rangers, with one of baseball's best offenses, handles him.
The Sox gained a half-game on idle Tampa Bay, who lost Evan Longoria to the DL with a broken wrist. The Sox are now 4 back, while the Yankees continued their freefall, losing 4-0 to the Twins, and are now 9 behind the Rays.