Already one of the AL’s Cy Young favorites, Josh Beckett had his best start yet in 2011 on Wednesday night, throwing a one-hitter as Boston beat Tampa Bay 3-0.
The Rays’ lone hit was a Reid Brignac single in the third. Beckett retired the other 27 hitters he faced, striking out six of them.
It was the fifth career shutout for Beckett, who has never really flirted with a no-hitter. The fewest hits he had ever allowed previously in a complete game was three and he had done that just once.
Beckett moved to 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA for the season. Jered Weaver had barely overtaken him for the major league-ERA lead going into this one; both were at 2.06, but Weaver’s mark was slightly better.
A Kevin Youkilis homer off Jeremy Hellickson in the seventh inning supplied all of the scoring for the Red Sox in the game. Hellickson, a Rookie of the Year candidate, fell to 7-5 with a 3.09 ERA.
The Red Sox defeated the Rays for the first time in four tries this season. On Tuesday, the Rays halted Boston’s nine-game winning streak behind James Shields’ shutout.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.