Josh Beckett took his turn in a suddenly dominant stretch turned in by Red Sox starters. The right-hander punched out a season-high nine batters in seven shutout innings, limiting the Mariners to just four hits as the Red Sox beat Seattle, 5-0, to conclude a two-game series sweep.
Beckett's gem was the crowning performance of a full turn of the Red Sox rotation that featured dominance from the team's starters. He gave the team its fifth straight quality start, a five-game span in which the starters were 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks. Pitching on his 32nd birthday, Beckett featured a full complement of swing-and-miss pitches, as the Mariners struggled with his 91-94 mph fastball, changeup, curveball and cutter. The result was nine strikeouts (most by a Red Sox pitcher this year) over seven shutout innings in which Beckett allowed just four hits (all singles) while walking two.
The Red Sox provided the only support Beckett would need in the bottom of the third, when David Ortiz smashed a fastball into the Red Sox bullpen for a solo homer, his eighth of the year. The team plated two more runs in the fourth on a Mike Aviles RBI double and Ryan Sweeney's run-scoring groundout before adding on a fourth and final run in the bottom of the fifth when Will Middlebrooks rocketed a single off the base of the Green Monster. Aviles added an insurance run in the eighth with another RBI double.
The Red Sox moved within two games of .500 as they prepare for a three-city, eight-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Baltimore.