Beckett Could Be the Starter In San Francisco

Friday, July 6th 2007, 7:42 am
By: News On 6

Josh Beckett could start next week in San Francisco. Kelvim Escobar won't be there, even though he too looks like an All-Star.

Beckett matched the major league lead with his 12th win, getting a first-inning grand slam from Coco Crisp and a career-high five hits from Mike Lowell on Thursday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 15-4 victory over Tampa Bay at Fenway Park. It was the Devil Rays' 11th consecutive loss.

One of the Red Sox's major league-leading six All-Stars, Beckett (12-2) would be rested and a strong candidate to be Jim Leyland's choice to start Tuesday night against the National League.

``There's some other guys as deserving as I am. I'll be happy if he chooses me,'' Beckett said. ``It's a whole new experience for me. It's a very exciting time.''

Escobar (10-3) also won Thursday, but it was too late to boost his All-Star credentials. The right-hander had already lost out on his second chance to make it before he struck out eight while allowing one run and three hits over seven innings in the Los Angeles Angels' 5-2 victory over at Texas.

``Outside of a couple of pitches, he pitched a terrific ballgame and shut down a lineup that has been scoring a lot of runs,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``He's an All-Star, no doubt about it.''

In other AL games Thursday, it was: Detroit 12, Cleveland 3; New York 7, Minnesota 6; Chicago 11, Baltimore 6; and Oakland 3, Seattle 2.

Escobar, 4-0 in six starts since the beginning of June, was left off the initial AL roster released Sunday. He had another chance to make the team, but Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima beat out Escobar and three others in Internet voting that ended Thursday to determine the final player.

Escobar plans to spend the All-Star break in Cancun with his family, and said that he won't go to San Francisco now if asked to be a last-minute injury replacement.

``I have plans. They call me to go, I'm not going, they will have to find somebody else,'' he said. ``No offense. I made a good case, but I'm not disappointed.''

Beckett made his case to start, striking out nine and allowing three runs in six innings. The Red Sox are in Detroit this weekend, but manager Terry Francona said he won't lobby Leyland to make Beckett his starter.

``He doesn't need my help,'' said Francona, who managed in the All-Star game in 2005, a year after Boston won the World Series. ``I'm aware of how things work, and I don't want to be a pain in the neck.''

The Red Sox led 6-0 after one inning, 9-0 after two and 13-2 after three. Their 15 runs and 21 hits were both season highs.

J.P. Howell (1-3) allowed six runs, six hits and two walks, retiring just two of the 10 batters he faced before being chased in the first inning. The Devil Rays were swept for the third straight series. A fourth this weekend in Kansas City would pull them within one of the franchise record of 15 straight losses set in 2002.

Tigers 12, Indians 3

At Detroit, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco hit homers off C.C. Sabathia, turning a matchup of All-Star pitchers into a rout.

Like Sabathia, Justin Verlander (10-3) gave up a home run in the first inning before settling down. He gave up three runs _ two earned _ and six hits while striking out seven and walking none over seven innings.

Sabathia (12-3) gave up a season-high seven runs in a season-low four innings. The reigning AL Player of the Week gave up 10 hits, walked one and struck out three.

Yankees 7, Twins 6

At New York, Hideki Matsui hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Pat Neshek (3-1) in the eighth inning and Mariano Rivera got out of a jam in the ninth for his 424th save, tying him with John Franco for third on the career list.

Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera also homered for New York, which played without Alex Rodriguez for the first time this season. Rodriguez sat out with a strained left hamstring.

Kyle Farnsworth (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth before Rivera allowed Joe Mauer's RBI groundout in the ninth. He struck out Michael Cuddyer with a runner on second for his 11th save in 13 opportunities.

White Sox 11, Orioles 6

Tadahito Iguchi fell a single shy of the cycle, and Jermaine Dye hit a three-run homer off Brian Burres (4-3) in host Chicago's highest-scoring game of the season.

The White Sox have won eight of 11, trying to turn around a brutal season. They began the night 36-45, 13 1/2 games behind in the AL Central.

John Danks (5-6) lasted 6 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and seven hits while striking out three and walking one. He left after Corey Patterson hit a two-run homer.

Athletics 3, Mariners 2

Nick Swisher and Bobby Crosby hit home runs to help host Oakland win for the fourth time in six games.

Chad Gaudin (8-3) allowed eight hits in 7 2-3 innings and Alan Embree pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

Jose Guillen had three hits and drove in a run against his former team as the Mariners dropped to 1-3 under new manager John McLaren, who took over from Mike Hargrove on Monday.

Miguel Batista (8-7) lost for the first time in Oakland, a span of eight appearances. He allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.