Jeremy Sowers is only 24, but he's already learned the value of keeping a level head when it comes to big-league baseball's dizzying highs and disastrous lows.

So when Sowers, at long last, notched his first victory of the '07 season in his last start in Kansas City on Thursday, he wasn't about to claim to have totally conquered his demons.

"I actually pitched decent, finally," Sowers said. "Whether or not it's a turning point, time will tell. But it's a step in the right direction."

Sowers hopes the next step comes Tuesday night, when he makes his second career appearance at Fenway Park.

The Sowers who faced the Red Sox in the ancient ballpark last August was a much different, much more confident version. He's labored this season, struggling with his command. But in holding the Royals to a run on six hits over seven innings, he looked much more like the Sowers of old.

It will be a contrast in starters, as Sowers, coming off his first win, will oppose Josh Beckett, who has yet to lose.

Pitching matchup
CLE: LHP Jeremy Sowers (1-4, 6.29 ERA)
After beginning the season 0-4 with a 7.13 ERA in his first eight starts, Sowers had his best start of the year on Thursday against the Royals. All six hits he allowed were singles. It was his first victory in 10 starts, dating to Sept. 5. Last year in Boston, he gave up two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings of work for a no-decision.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (7-0, 2.66 ERA)
Beckett will be activated from the disabled list to make his first start since May 13, when he sustained a torn flap of skin on the middle finger of his right hand and had to leave after four innings against Baltimore. The 27-year-old right-hander still is chasing Roger Clemens' 1986 club record of 14 consecutive wins starting the season, but he has never beaten the Indians. In two career starts against Cleveland, Beckett is 0-2 with a 13.97 ERA.

Player to watch
The Indians' decision to send Andy Marte back to Triple-A Buffalo was, once again, implicit praise of the way Casey Blake has taken over the third base duties. Blake came into this series having hit in 17 of 19 games, driving in 15 runs in that span. His contributions have often gone unheralded, but they are big, nonetheless.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
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•  Official game notes

On television
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On radio
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Up next
• Wednesday: Indians (Paul Byrd, 5-1, 3.81) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-2, 4.43), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Indians (C.C. Sabathia, 7-1, 3.54) vs. Tigers (Justin Verlander, 5-1, 2.71), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 6-1, 2.89) vs. Tigers (Mike Maroth, 3-2, 5.04), 7:05 p.m. ET