Beckett struggles, but Sox outslug Jays

Beckett struggles, but Sox outslug Jays

TORONTO -- Jason Varitek drove in four runs with three of the Red Sox's 18 hits on Monday. And Marco Scutaro had three hits, one RBI and scored a career-high four runs against his former team.

But on a night when baseballs were flying all over Rogers Centre's turf, against the walls and over them, it took a couple of superb relief outings to stop the bleeding in the Red Sox's 13-12 victory over the Blue Jays.

They were needed because Josh Beckett had an off night before a crowd of 13,847. He allowed nine hits, including a three-run homer by Jose Bautista and eight runs in three-plus innings.

"The numbers tell everything, and they're not good," Beckett said.

Beckett walked both batters he faced in the fourth, and Scott Atchison took over, giving up Alex Gonzalez's triple that scored both runners.

"That was not the way we drew it up, and I think I've said that a few times this year," manager Terry Francona said.

The bullpen tourniquets were applied by Manny Delcarmen, who threw two hitless innings, and Daniel Bard, who inherited two baserunners and a two-run lead and allowed only a sacrifice fly.

"They were all valuable outs today," Varitek said, "because of a full moon or whatever it was, nobody could get anybody out."

Sure, left-hander Scott Schoeneweis (1-0) received credit for the win, but in his one-third of an inning, he gave up hits to the two left-handed hitters he faced.

There was a run-scoring single to Adam Lind in the fifth, and after the Red Sox had scored four in the top of the inning, a leadoff homer by Lyle Overbay in the sixth.

Enter Delcarmen, who protected the 13-10 lead.

"We were just trying to piece it together," Francona said. "Manny Delcarmen, what he gave us was huge."

Left-hander Hideki Okajima entered in the eighth and allowed three hits and a run before Bard rescued him.

"He did a good job," Francona said. "That's just put your seatbelt on and hang on."

Closer Jonathan Papelbon pitched a clean ninth to pick up his sixth save and end a game that lasted four hours and three minutes.

"It was definitely a tough game today," Delcarmen said. "Both teams swung the bats well. Bard has been amazing all season, and [Papelbon] does what he normally does and gets the save. But Bard has been throwing a lot and keeping us in there."

"He's getting better," Varitek said of Delcarmen. "I still think Manny's got a gear to go to. I don't mean velocity-wise, I mean as far as executing his pitches. He's definitely much stronger than he was in spring and right at the end of spring. The ball's coming out of his hand much better."

It looked like it could be an easy night for the Red Sox.

They scored seven runs on eight hits in three innings against Jays left-hander Dana Eveland.

But Beckett couldn't hold a 5-0 lead, then let an 8-6 lead slip away.

"[I gave] up three walks and guys were hitting balls hard," Beckett said. "You can't give them extra baserunners. Some of it's fastball command. I think the whole game of baseball is predicated on a fastball. If you can command your fastball, it sets up other pitches, and I'm not doing that."

Varitek was a little more kind to Beckett.

"I can't say that he didn't make some really good pitches and they didn't hit them," Boston's captain said. "It was a combination of both. On that homer [by Jose Bautista], he almost hit the guy's back knee. You can go down to selection, you can go down a lot of things. The fact of the matter is that both teams hit the cover off the ball today."

Beckett had some struggles early last season as well. He was 2-2 with a 7.22 ERA in five starts last April, but went 15-4 with a 3.33 ERA the rest of the way. After five starts this April, he is 1-0 with a 7.22 ERA.

"Sometimes balls are hit at people when things are going well," Varitek said. "And it allows you settle in and really get through all your pitches and really get through your delivery. He didn't have much margin for error today, they didn't let him breathe one bit.

"Whether he made good pitches or misfired a pitch or whatever it was, today was one of those days I can honestly say you have to credit the other team more than to look at what Josh did.

"Josh is going to be good. He's strong, that's the good thing. He'll get through all his pitches and get through all that and he'll be just fine."

As for his own night at the plate, Varitek said, "I just got some good pitches to hit."

He would have settled for a 2-1 game he said instead of a four-hour production.

"I was a little tired," Varitek said. "I was tired about the fourth inning."

Larry Millson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.