10/12/07 11:48 PM ET
Red Sox Short Hops: Game 1
Boston bats back Beckett's strong performance
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Josh Beckett shined bright once again for the Red Sox, who backed his outing with a relentless offensive onslaught. Frozen moment
Boston right fielder Bobby Kielty, who was inserted into the lineup specifically to face Indians ace C.C. Sabathia, drilled a 2-0 pitch from the left-hander into right field in the fifth inning. The single drove in a pair of Red Sox runs to push their lead to 7-1. With that, Sabathia was sent to the showers much earlier than Cleveland would've hoped. Big number
9 -- The number of Red Sox hitters who stepped into the batter's box to face Sabathia in a four-run third inning for Boston. Game balls
Ramirez reached base five times -- three times on walks and twice on hits. Boston's left fielder drove in Kevin Youkilis with a single in the first inning and added RBIs in the third and sixth innings, thanks to a bases-loaded walk in each frame. In the second, Ramirez even added a highlight-reel play on defense, snaring a would-be hit by Kenny Lofton with an over-the-shoulder grab.
Beckett was impressive in the opener against Cleveland, which managed just four hits over six innings against the right-hander. Beckett surrendered a solo home run to Travis Hafner in the first inning and an RBI single to Asdrubal Cabrera in the sixth, but Boston's ace was sharp throughout. He struck out seven and walked none, and an eight-run lead after six convinced Red Sox manager Terry Francona to turn to his bullpen.
Boston's third baseman, who led the club with 120 RBIs in the regular season, drove in three runs for the Red Sox in the victory over the Tribe. Lowell went 1-for-4 with a two-run double in the third inning and a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the sixth. Lowell was also busy in the field with Beckett on the hill. During Beckett's six innings, Lowell assisted five groundouts.
Sense of October
In the third inning, Lowell sent an offering from Sabathia into right field, where it landed just beyond the reach of Cleveland's Franklin Gutierrez. The ball bounced up and then ricocheted off the glove of Gutierrez, who watched it sail into the seats just past Pesky's Pole. Fenway Park aided another ground-rule double -- this time scoring two Boston runs.
2 AB, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 R
Comment: Big Papi reached base five times in three different ways, maintaining his torrid pace this postseason.
6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, HBP, W
Comment: No, it wasn't another postseason shutout, but Beckett was still dominating in spurts in another October victory.
"It was an amazing performance. You wouldn't have thought we'd score 10 runs on a day like today, with Sabathia on the mound and Beckett. Beckett threw great again and we feel really confident when he's out there." -- Kielty
In search of a fifth straight win this postseason, the Red Sox will send Curt Schilling to the mound in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Indians on Saturday night. Cleveland will counter with tough right-hander Fausto Carmona.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.