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.
Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.
Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.
Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.
Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.