Josh Beckett

Beleaguered Josh Beckett combines on shutout of Mariners


Josh Beckett’s critics will have to stand down for a few days: the occasional golfer and devourer of fried chicken blanked the Mariners for seven innings and struck out nine in Boston’s 5-0 victory Tuesday.

It was actually Beckett’s fifth quality start in seven tries this season. His other two outings were pretty spectacularly bad (he gave up five homers to the Tigers in his season debut and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Indians last week), but he’s been good more often than not despite dealing with diminished velocity.

Beckett allowed just four hits in this one, though the Mariners did make a couple of bids for homers. Justin Smoak hit a drive over the wall in right in the second inning that appeared to be foul, though replay was inconclusive. The umpires ruled it foul and then went to the replay before standing by the call. In the sixth, Kyle Seager hit a ball to deep right with two men on. It would have been a homer in a few parks, but in Fenway, it was just a long out.

Beckett is now 3-4 with a 4.97 ERA this season. The Red Sox have won five in a row to improve to 17-19.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Shelby Miller snaps 24-start winless streak

Shelby Miller
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Pitcher wins are stupid, but players do seem to put some stock in them. And so Braves starter Shelby Miller can finish his 2015 season with some positive vibes.

The right-hander held the Cardinals scoreless over eight innings in the first half of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Turner Field, an eventual 6-0 victory for the host Braves. Miller struck out seven, gave up only three hits, and finally got some run support to snap a 24-start “winless” streak. (Atlanta was actually 3-21 in that stretch).

Miller’s last official “win” before Sunday came May 17 in Miami. He shut out the Marlins and flirted with a no-hitter in that start.

The 24-year-old will finish the 2015 season with a 6-17 record, 3.02 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 171/73 K/BB ratio in 205 1/3 innings. He was traded to Atlanta from St. Louis over the winter in the four-player Jason Heyward deal and will be under the Braves’ control through at least 2018.

Heyward is scheduled to become a free agent this winter.