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BOS@LAA: Adrian drills a go-ahead RBI double to right

ANAHEIM -- It was an occasion that called for nothing more than an RBI, and Adrian Gonzalez was determined to get it somehow, someway.

But instead of trying to overdo it, the star first baseman waited for his pitch and got it, bashing an RBI double into the corner in right that snapped a tie and lifted the Red Sox to a 4-2, 11-inning victory over the Angels on Thursday night.

It was Gonzalez's biggest hit thus far in a Boston uniform and was delivered against a first-pitch cutter by Rich Thompson with runners at the corners and nobody out.

"It's the situation you want to be in, especially in extra innings because you know that if you just come through, you have your closer ready to come in and finish the game," said Gonzalez. "We were able to get an extra insurance run, which is great as well. It made it a little easier on Pap."

Much like the entire night, the insurance run didn't come easily either. Dustin Pedroia tagged from third and barely made it home in time on a medium-depth sacrifice fly to center by Jed Lowrie.

"We just took a chance," Pedroia said. "He got all his momentum behind him. I didn't look at the replay, but I'm sure he made a good throw. It seemed like it was bang-bang. I was just able to get around the tag. Jed had a great at-bat. We had to take a chance, get that extra run."

After a 2-10 start, the Red Sox have reeled off five wins in their last six games. The catalyst has been starting pitching.

That was again a focal point in this one, as Josh Beckett sparkled for the third consecutive time.

Beckett had a no-hitter through five, only to have that broken up on a chopper back to the mound by Erick Aybar to open the sixth.

"He pitched well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He isn't reinventing himself -- he just has good stuff."

The key to Beckett's turnaround?

"Confidence," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "From the very first pitch of the game tonight, he threw all his pitches for strikes. He controlled the running game. He was in command of his pitches."

The righty who started the season as Boston's No. 4 starter is looking like an ace again. He reeled off eight innings, giving up three hits and two runs. Beckett walked two and struck out five. He threw 125 pitches, just one shy of a career high.

"I thought he was still throwing the ball pretty well," Francona said. "I didn't really see a reason to take him out."

In the groove he's in at the moment, Beckett isn't thinking much about pitch counts.

"It's nice to have confidence in your pitches," Beckett said. "That's something that I definitely have right now. I'm throwing three or four pitches, all of them for strikes when I need them for strikes and for balls when I need them for balls."

Over the last three starts, Beckett is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA.

His only blemish in this one was the two-run rocket to right by Torii Hunter that tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the seventh.

"You know, I felt like I made pitches when I needed to, except for one," Beckett said. "And the one pitch that Torii hit actually wasn't the worst pitch I threw that inning. The leadoff walk, without that, we win, 2-1."

Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis had to leave the game in the bottom of the second, the result of hitting a foul ball off his left shin in the first. X-rays were negative and Youkilis hasn't been ruled out for Friday.

The Angels put a scare into Beckett in the eighth when Aybar led off with a sharp grounder down the right-field line. Aybar tried to stretch it into a triple, but J.D. Drew and Pedroia combined on a well-executed 9-4-5 out with Lowrie getting the tag on Aybar just in time.

"That's why in Spring Training, I don't screw around with that. I always try to get my legs underneath me," Pedroia said. "I don't ever go 50 percent in those drills. It's going to come down to three or four games a year that if we make a good throw, we win. Tonight was one of those games, so practice pays off."

The bullpen produced masterfully after Beckett's exit. Daniel Bard, the hero from Wednesday's win, retired all three batters he faced in the ninth. Bobby Jenks earned the win -- his first with the Red Sox -- by firing a perfect 10th. And Jonathan Papelbon worked around one hit in the 11th to rack up his fourth save in as many opportunities.

"They all threw yesterday and they came back and threw better today," Francona said. "Bard and Jenks threw the ball very well. Pap was throwing strike after strike."

Meanwhile, the offense, which left 15 on base and went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, got the one hit it needed to win the game.

"We'll take anything," Francona said. "Again, we had a few opportunities. We've not been doing very well with a runner on third with less than two outs. That's an understatement. We did some good things to win this game. This is a game you can lose in this ballpark against that team in a hurry." Comments