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Mather beats Sox on walk-off homer

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  March 12, 2009 01:30 PM

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Joe Mather stroked a two-run homer off Sox reliever Marcus MacBeth with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Sox, 4-2. The game lasted 2 hours 24 minutes.

Tough eighth inning for Michael Bowden, who gave up a pair of runs and made a three-base throwing error as the Cards were able to tie it, 2-2. Scouts who watch Bowden continue to cringe at his delivery, which they feel is a shoulder injury waiting to happen.

SOX ADD ON (2:54, TOP 8, 2-0 SOX)
While us media types were down speaking to Josh Beckett about his four-inning outing, the Sox scored a run in the seventh when Josh Reddick stroked his second hit with a flare to center, scoring Nick Green, who was a hit with a pitch and stole second base. Beckett, meanwhile, was satisfied with his effort. He threw 50 pitches, which was 15 fewer than his maximum allotment for the day. "It felt good," Beckett said. "I threw some good curveballs and changeups and I was able to make some pitches in baseball situations. There were some balls that were at guys."

SCORE! (2:14, BOTTOM 5, SOX UP 1-0)
Julio Lugo, trying to win the shortstop job, drove in Chip Ambres in the fifth with the only run of the game so far. Nice bit of hitting by Lugo, who grounded one between first and second. Ambres scored after he pinch-ran for Jonathan Van Every, who sprained his right ankle at second base. Masterson is pitching in the bottom of the fifth.


Beckett put a pair of runners on base in the fourth. Joe Thurston stroked a double down the right field line to lead things off, but Beckett retired both Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick before walking Chris Duncan, who looks more like Mark McGwire (in body only) every day. Beckett was able to bear down and retire Jon Jay with a grounder to second base to end the inning. Justin Masterson has been warming up in the bullpen over the last inning so we'll see if the Sox stick to their plan and take Beckett out after four. Chris Carpenter threw 46 pitches in his four innings, allowing two hits and two walks.

FREEZING (1:42, TOP 4, 0-0)
Beckett just froze shortstop Tyler Greene with a very nice curveball to end the third inning, Beckett's second straight 1-2-3 inning. Beckett has not allowed an earned run in 10 spring training innings so far. He's expected to throw at least 65 pitches, which could get him five innings.

EASY STREET (1:31, TOP 3, 0-0)
Josh Beckett has been solid over the first two innings, allowing only a first-inning drag bunt hit to former Sox Joe Thurston, who placed it nicely between the mound and first base. Beckett struck out Ryan Ludwick on a fastball on the outside corner in the first, and had a 1-2-3 second inning, getting a couple of ground balls. Josh Reddick tripled to lead off the first, but was stranded.

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