In his first start since April 29, Josh Beckett delivered one of his worst starts as a member of the Red Sox at a wildly inopportune time for the pitcher and the team. With a controversy swirling over his decision to go golfing last Thursday, one day after the Sox announced that they would skip his scheduled start on Saturday to rest the pitcher's stiff lat muscle, Beckett was knocked out after allowing seven runs on seven hits in just 2 1/3 innings to the Indians, setting in motion an 8-3 loss.
The Indians sent one rocket after another around the park, as Beckett allowed six extra-base hits -- four doubles, two homers -- in an outing that was tied for his shortest ever at Fenway Park. The right-hander struck out two and walked two while seeing his ERA rise from 4.45 to 5.97. Manager Bobby Valentine received a hearty ovation as he approached the mound to pull Beckett after Michael Brantley's two-run double; Beckett, meanwhile, was pounded with boos as he walked off the mound and into the dugout.
The Red Sox were shut down for much of the night by a familiar occupant of the mound at Fenway Park in Derek Lowe. The 38-year-old scattered nine hits over six innings while allowing two runs (both earned). He walked one, struck out three and recorded 13 of his 18 outs via ground ball to improve to 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA on the season.
The Red Sox did have an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with two outs for Dustin Pedroia, who had homers over the Red Sox bullpen in right-center one inning earlier. But after Pedroia worked the count to 3-1, Pestano came back with a swing-and-miss cutter and then, on a full count, got a fastball on Pedroia's hands for a pop-out to first baseman Casey Kotchman.
The defeat dropped the Sox to a season-high seven games under .500 at 12-19, as they remained 7 1/2 games behind both the Rays and the Orioles in the AL East. The Red Sox have now dropped 11 of their last 12 games at home, with their six-game home losing streak tied with a stretch of equal length in 2008 for the longest by the club since a 12-game home losing streak in 1994.