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Beckett in search of history at Fenway

Beckett in search of history at Fenway

Thirty-five games into the season, Josh Beckett is as sure a bet as there is in baseball.

He's a wily Texan who has tamed his fastball, a young veteran with a playoff pedigree. Durable, talented and, perhaps for the first time, tactful -- these words describe a pitcher who has displayed traces of each, but never quite in such simultaneous doses until this year.

On Mother's Day against the Orioles, Beckett will try for his eighth win in his eighth start. Only three Red Sox starters -- Babe Ruth (1917), Dave Ferriss (1945) and Roger Moret (1973) -- have accomplished the feat. Not one has won a ninth.

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Baltimore has managed only three runs against Beckett in his two career starts against them. On April 26 at Camden Yards, Beckett gave up two runs in eight innings, earning the win after the Red Sox took the lead on a Wily Mo Pena grand slam.

Taking the mound for the Orioles will be Stanford product Jeremy Guthrie, who has a 4.64 ERA in eight appearances this season, two of them starts.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (7-0, 2.51 ERA)
Beckett, who will make his third May start, has been less prolific in his career in the season's second month than he has in April. In May, Beckett's ERA rises from 3.20 to 4.07. He has been far more effective this season, allowing just four earned runs in 14 May innings, for a 2.51 ERA.

BAL: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 4.64 ERA)
Guthrie has pitched only two career innings against the Red Sox, allowing one run and striking out two. The 28-year-old Guthrie got a relatively late start on his professional career, taking two years off in the middle of college to undertake a Mormon mission in Spain. In 2001, he was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and until this season, he had gained his only Major League experience with the Cleveland Indians.

Player to watch
Former Red Sox and current Orioles outfielder Jay Payton has six hits in 14 career at-bats against Beckett, by far the best history among Baltimore hitters. None of those hits, however, went for extra bases.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Espanol)

Up next
• Monday: Tigers (LHP Nate Robertson, 3-2, 3.43) at Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 4-2, 4.80), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Tigers (RHP Justin Verlander, 3-1, 2.83) at Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 4-3, 1.79), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Tigers (LHP Mike Maroth, 3-0, 4.69) at Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 1-4, 6.60), 7:05 p.m. ET

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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