04/16/07 5:30 PM ET
Heavenly sweep for Red Sox
Offense, Lugo's defense back Beckett's solid outing
By Mike Petraglia / Special to MLB.com
After allowing a first-inning solo homer to Orlando Cabrera, the Red Sox right-hander settled down while Boston batters erupted in a six-run outburst as the Red Sox beat the Angels, 7-2, to complete a three-game sweep of the rain-shortened series.
"I was up so early," Beckett said of his early Monday wake-up call. "I was up at 6:47 this morning getting the [weather] update and everything. I don't know, I kind of had the feeling we'd play today. We had to get one of these two games in and we already cancelled yesterday."
Beckett improved to 3-0 for the second straight season, allowing just the one run on six hits while striking out five and walking one in his six innings.
Asked if he recalled his struggles following last year's 3-0 start, Beckett said he has long ago turned the page on 2006.
"I'm not worried about last year," Beckett said. "I'm worried about this year. I'm worried about keeping my team in games and trying to help them win this year. There's nothing I can do about last year. I just have to go out and continue to make pitches when I need to. I think that's been the key to my success."
"[Beckett] did a good job," Red Sox manager Terry Francona added. "And they made him work hard, too. And we knew they would. They didn't want to lose today. They've got a bunch of solid players that we knew would fight all the way. There were a lot of foul balls, some deeper counts, but he pitched very, very well. And he got some good defense behind him, too."
Julio Lugo went 2-for-4 with a double and scored a run, but the most impressive part of his day came in the field when he made two spectacular plays.
With a runner on second and one out in the fourth, the Red Sox shortstop turned his back and ran out to make a sliding grab of Casey Kotchman's popup in left-center. Then in the fifth, with runners on first and second, Lugo went deep in the hole to field a grounder before throwing across his body to nab Reggie Willlits by a half-step and end the inning.
"They were both plays where they could have scored runs and I was just happy I could come up with them," Lugo said. "A lot of people say I'm a better offensive player than defensive player. We're going to have to see."
Added Beckett: "You know, Lugo keeps making plays like that behind me, I don't really know what else to say about it. He made two unbelievable plays. One of them saved me a run and the other saved me from throwing more pitches."
Manny Ramirez singled in two runs, while David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Alex Cora all doubled home a run against Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana, who allowed the first six Red Sox batters to reach.
Ortiz later added his fourth homer, a towering solo shot to the center-field camera well.
One batter after yielding Cabrera's homer to the first row of Monster Seats in left-center in the first, Beckett nailed Angels star Vladimir Guerrero on the right hand with an 0-2 fastball. X-rays taken at the ballpark were negative, but Guerrero had to be removed immediately from the game.
Both dugouts were warned by home-plate umpire and crew chief Rick Reed, but no other incidents occurred.
Originally scheduled for a 10:05 a.m. ET start, the annual Patriots Day game was delayed to a 12:18 p.m. first pitch because of the nor'easter that came through New England.
"Any win is worth the wait," Francona said. "It's over and we're moving on, and we played a good series. It was spread out over a few days, but we played a good series."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.