BOSTON (AP) _ Embattled starter Josh Beckett did nothing to help
restore his reputation Thursday night, getting booed off the field
at Fenway Park in the third inning of Boston’s 8-3 loss to the
Jack Hannahan hit a two-run homer and Jason Kipnis had a solo
shot off Beckett, who was already in hot water with Red Sox fans
for playing golf last week a day after he was scratched from his
scheduled start with a sore lat muscle in his back.
His return to the rotation couldn’t have gone much worse.
Beckett (2-4) gave up seven runs on seven hits and walked two in 2
1-3 innings as Cleveland built a 7-1 lead.
Michael Brantley went 4 for 5 with two RBIs for the Indians.
Derek Lowe (5-1) pitched six effective innings against his
former team, allowing two runs and nine hits with one walk and
three strikeouts. He was as solid as he needed to be with the
Indians’ offense taking full advantage of Beckett’s struggles.
Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 11 with a leadoff
homer in the seventh, cutting Cleveland’s lead to 7-3. But that did
little to lift the somber mood at Fenway Park as Red Sox fans
watched their team lose for the 11th time in its last 12 home
Boston, last in the AL East at 12-19, has dropped eight of nine
Beckett, who has a 5.97 ERA, was booed just a few hours after
manager Bobby Valentine downplayed the uproar over the pitcher’s
Word surfaced Wednesday that Beckett had hit the links with his
sore lat and fans jeered him early and often as the Indians teed
off for seven runs before the third inning was over.
It’s not the first time Beckett’s off-the-field decisions and
commitment to the team have come into question.
After last season, it was revealed that he was among a group of
pitchers who ate fried chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse
during games on days they didn’t pitch.
The first homer was Hannahan’s two-run shot into the Boston
bullpen, where a few relievers got up and started stretching their
arms as it became apparent Beckett would not be out there for long.
It got worse in the fourth when Kipnis led off with a homer,
Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Travis Hafner walked. Beckett got a
mock cheer when Carlos Santana flied out for the first out of the
inning, but the boos came right back when Shin-Soo Choo followed
with a double.
Brantley was up next and one fan yelled “FORE!” when he lined
a foul ball down the right-field line, but all the chuckles quickly
subsided when Brantley doubled to left-center. It was the second
straight double for the Indians, ending Beckett’s night.
Fans cheered when Valentine came out of the dugout and
immediately signaled to the bullpen for lefty Andrew Miller.
There wasn’t much to cheer for again until Pedroia came up with
the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, but he popped out to
second on the 41st pitch of the inning by Vinny Pestano.
NOTES: The Red Sox paid tribute before the game to public
address announcer Carl Beane, a day after he died after having a
heart attack while driving. The Red Sox went without a PA announcer
for their game against Cleveland as part of the tribute, which also
featured a moment of silence after a series of still photos were
shown on the center-field monitor. … RHP Clayton Mortensen was
optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Daniel Nava, who
started in left field. “He pitched plenty well to stay on this
staff, but he has an option and we needed a spot and luckily he’s
the kind of professional guy that understood totally,” Valentine
said. … Valentine said 3B Kevin Youkilis (back) was expected to
start throwing again Thursday or Friday, but there was no word on
when he could return. … It was Brantley’s fourth four-hit game,
tying his career high. … Lowe made his second appearance at
Fenway since he helped Boston win the 2004 World Series.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)