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.