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Beckett Strong In Sox Series-Winning Victory

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox stretches in the dugout before the start of his game against the Philadelphia Phillies in a MLB interleague baseball game on May 20, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 20: Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox stretches in the dugout before the start of his game against the Philadelphia Phillies in a MLB interleague baseball game on May 20, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Josh Beckett pitched 7 2-3 strong innings
and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a three-run homer to lead the Boston
Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Mike Aviles also homered and drove in two runs for Boston, which
has won eight of 10 games overall after taking the final two of
this three-game series.

Beckett (4-4) was booed off the mound May 10 when he allowed
seven runs in 2 1-3 innings following news that he had played golf
while skipping a start to rest a strained lat muscle _ but he has
been spectacular since.

After shutting out Seattle in a home win on May 15 by pitching
seven scoreless innings and giving up four hits with nine
strikeouts and two walks, Beckett allowed one run on seven hits
Sunday while striking out five and walking two.

His only blemish was Juan Pierre’s sacrifice fly in the eighth
that gave Philadelphia its only run.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 and now is 9 for 16 lifetime
against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee.

Lee (0-2), making just his sixth start of the season after
spending time on the DL with a strained oblique, had his worst
start of the year. In seven innings, he allowed five runs on nine
hits _ both season highs. He struck out six and walked one.

The three-time All-Star and 2008 AL Cy Young winner has been
pitching well this season, entering with a 1.95 ERA, but has not
been getting run support some of the time or bullpen support other
times.

The Phillies’ offense didn’t help Lee, once again, but this time
the left-hander wasn’t able to keep Philadelphia close.

Aviles led off with a homer for the second straight game,
ripping Lee’s 1-1 cutter into the seats in left.

After Aviles’ RBI single in the second gave the Red Sox a 2-0
lead, Boston went ahead 5-0 in the third inning on Saltalamacchia’s
three-run homer that cleared the seats in center field and reached
Ashburn Alley, the fan walkway behind the outfield seats.

Lee settled down after that, retiring the next 11 batters before
Beckett’s single off the wall in center to lead off the seventh.
But the damage had been done.

Beckett was in total command against a Phillies lineup that had
15 hits the previous night. Other than the third inning, the
right-hander allowed just two runners to reach second base prior to
the eighth.

The Phillies threatened in the third, putting runners on second
and third with one out after Lee doubled, but Jimmy Rollins
grounded out to third and Pierre lined out sharply to first to keep
Philadelphia scoreless.

Philadelphia scored its run in the eighth on Pierre’s sacrifice
fly to left that scored pinch-hitter Pete Orr, who doubled. Boston
manager Bobby Valentine lifted Beckett after the right-hander
walked Shane Victorino to put runners on first and second. And the
bases were loaded when reliever Vicente Padilla walked Hunter
Pence. But Padilla got Ty Wigginton to ground out to second to
escape the jam.

The Phillies were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position
Sunday, and now are 3 for 21 in their last two games.

Notes: Phillies GM Ruben Amaro defended the club’s use of a
cortisone shot last Sept. 18 on Ryan Howard’s injured left foot.
The reaction was in response to a Philadelphia Inquirer story
Sunday suggesting that the cortisone shot may have contributed to
Howard’s Achilles’ tear last Oct. 7. … Boston OF Cody Ross didn’t
play for the second straight game after fouling a ball off his left
leg on Friday. … The crowd of 45,586 was the 225th straight
sellout and 241st counting postseason play. … Philadelphia RHP
Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 5.96), filling in for injured right-hander
Vance Worley (elbow), is scheduled to face Washington left-hander
Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.22) on Monday night when the Phillies host the
first of a three-game series. … Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (4-2,
7.77) opposes Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (2-2, 4.78) when the Red Sox
travel to AL East-leading Baltimore on Monday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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