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Beckett Blasted, Sox Lose

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BOSTON, MA - JULY 20: Colby Rasmus #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two-run RBI double in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox during the game on July 20, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – JULY 20: Colby Rasmus #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two-run RBI double in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox during the game on July 20, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) _ Different game, similar first inning for Josh
Beckett.

The Red Sox starter has been plagued most of the season by rocky
first innings and it wasn’t any different in Boston’s 5-1 loss to
the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

He struck out the first batter, Anthony Gose, on a 93 mph
fastball. Then Colby Rasmus tripled off the base of the wall in
right field and scored when he beat third baseman Will
Middlebrooks’ throw on Edwin Encarnacion’s grounder by slipping his
hand ahead of catcher Kelly Shoppach’s tag.

“I can’t control that,” Beckett said. “Will made an
aggressive play.”

J.P. Arencibia added an RBI single, making it 2-0. Beckett’s ERA
in the first inning of games this season climbed to 10.69 and is
3.38 combined in all others.

“Josh is a fighter. He’s going to go out there and give us
everything he’s got every time,” Middlebrooks said.

In the second, Rasmus made it 4-0 with a two-run double into the
gap in left-center. Beckett retired seven straight before the Blue
Jays tacked on a run in the fifth on Adam Lind’s RBI single. A
spattering of boos rained down on Beckett. Encarnacion reached
second after Middlebrooks threw his infield hit into Boston’s
dugout for an error before Lind’s hit.

“I thought he had good stuff all night. He got a ground ball to
third and we didn’t get an out on it,” Red Sox manager Bobby
Valentine said. “He made a couple of bad pitches in the first
couple of innings and they scored four runs. But, he had pretty
good stuff tonight.”

Beckett (5-8) gave up five runs _ four earned _ and seven hits,
striking out seven and walking three.

Aaron Laffey pitched seven shutout innings for the Blue Jays.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Toronto, and was
just its sixth in its last 15 games.

Laffey (2-1) scattered eight singles and worked out of trouble
in the third and seventh innings. He struck out four and didn’t
walk a batter.

The 27-old left-hander is with the fourth team of his career. He
was up with Toronto in April and May, but never appeared in a game
before being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 11.

“He was just hitting spots and keeping the ball down,”
Middlebrooks said. “When you keep the ball away and keep it on the
black down at the knees, it’s hard to do much with it.”

Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen each pitched one inning for the
Blue Jays.

Unlike Thursday, when Boston was held scoreless until pulling
out a win in the ninth, there wasn’t much drama as the Red Sox
scored their only run on Mike Aviles’ fielder’s choice grounder
with one out in the ninth.

Laffey had runners on first and second in the third, but got the
next two hitters to fly out. In the seventh, the Red Sox had the
first two batters reach with singles.

Rasmus drove in two runs and Lind added two hits and an RBI for
the Blue Jays.

NOTES: The Blue Jays recalled OF Travis Snider from Triple-A Las
Vegas before the game and optioned RHP David Carpenter, acquired in
the 10-player trade with Houston earlier Friday, to Triple-A. “For
the time being he’ll get most of the reps in left,” Blue Jays
manager John Farrell said of Snider. … Valentine had a nice
pregame line when asked if there was any concern of injuries in
walkoff celebrations after the Red Sox beat Chicago in their final
at-bat Thursday night. “The more practice you have at
celebrations, the better you get at it,” he said. … Red Sox RHP
Andrew Bailey, who has not pitched this season as he recovers from
right thumb surgery, threw off a mound Friday. Valentine said he
may pitch a short batting practice in Texas on Wednesday. …
Farrell said Brandon Lyon and J.A. Happ, acquired from Houston in
the trade Friday, should be with the team Saturday.

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

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