Beckett pitches like an ace

August, 4, 2010
8/04/10
12:16
AM ET
BOSTON -- Was this the “real” Josh Beckett, the one that the Red Sox hope can help carry them to the playoffs?

The erstwhile Boston right-hander certainly looked like an ace of the staff Tuesday night, dominating the Cleveland Indians for eight superb innings in the Red Sox’s 3-1 victory.

In his third start since coming off the disabled list, Beckett limited the Indians to three hits and one run -- on a homer by No. 9 hitter Lou Marson in the third inning -- in winning his second in a row. He struck out eight, matching a season high, and retired the final 14 batters he faced.

Beckett didn’t walk anyone, but he hit a couple of batters, planting a few seeds for a bench-clearing gathering in the eighth inning. And while Beckett was thrown out of the game for his aggressive behavior during the gathering, manager Terry Francona already had decided his pitcher was going to call it a night after having thrown 103 pitches.

Of course, the Indians are hardly a potent offense -- the last five batters in Cleveland’s lineup were hitting .125, .252, .164, .219 and .191 -- but Beckett’s command was sharp.

“He had a really good breaking ball and a good two-seamer to left-handed hitters,” said Francona. “When he can throw that pitch it gives him another side of the plate to work with.

“He’s competing. He’s letting it go,” said Francona of the post-DL Beckett. “We’ve been around him a long time and when he’s able to go out there with a full arsenal he can be one of the best pitchers in the game.”

“He’s being real aggressive, going right at the hitters,” said catcher Victor Martinez.

Beckett, as usual, didn’t seem overly excited about his performance.

“I had some pitches to go to,” said Beckett. “I’m feeling good, still making adjustments. There are constant adjustments you have to make.”

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