08/03/10 10:13 PM ET
Offense held in check in Fenway fracas
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
While he dominated the Cleveland lineup from top to bottom, surrendering three hits and only one run in eight frames, it was his involvement in an eighth-inning benches-clearing altercation that much of the Indians' focus was on.
The situation began in the first, when Shelley Duncan was hit, and then Shin-Soo Choo was hit in the right knee in the third, both by Beckett. Then David Ortiz was thrown behind in the seventh inning by reliever Justin Germano.
Indians reliever Jensen Lewis then threw at Adrian Beltre in the bottom of the eighth and the benches cleared. Lewis was then tossed and replaced by Joe Smith. Third-base coach Steve Smith was also ejected, along with Beckett after the altercation.
"[Beckett] was yelling at some people on our team and saying that the whole thing was our fault," Duncan said. "He was just saying some things."
While Beltre and the Red Sox may have believed that Lewis threw at Beltre on purpose, Lewis said that wasn't the case.
"He had two home runs last night, so we were trying to pitch a fastball inside so he couldn't extend and it got away from me," Lewis said. "The reaction was what it was."
During the altercation, both Duncan and Beckett seemed to get into it, as well as Smith and Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
Smith said that when Francona saw him saying something to Boston pitching coach John Farrell is when things got more heated.
"I wasn't yelling at Farrell. I said, 'What up?' and Francona saw it and we both said something," said Smith. "They had to pick someone -- better me than a manager or player.
"Any time a guy is hit, everyone wonders if it was on purpose, but you don't know. I didn't see it coming though."
As for the Red Sox, catcher Victor Martinez said the last thing they wanted to do in a close game was put anyone on base.
"We really didn't try to hit anybody. If you don't pitch [inside] in this game, you're not going to pitch for long," Martinez said. "That was just a two-seamer that just ran in to Duncan and we didn't really try to hit him. And Choo, not either."
Manager Manny Acta saw the altercation as more of his players trying to defend their teammates.
"That is part of the game and the players usually take care of their own thing, probably some of our guys felt like our best player was hit on purpose and they were probably trying to protect the guy," Acta said. "There is no room in the game for that kind of stuff, but they usually work it out themselves, just a lot of pushing and shoving, with some tough guys trying to find other guys."
Before the fracas, recently recalled starter David Huff couldn't match Beckett's dominance and lasted just 5 1/3 innings for the loss.
Giving up seven hits on three runs, while striking out two, Huff moved to 2-10 on the season with a 5.97 ERA.
On Huff's first pitch to Mike Lowell in the second inning, the Red Sox first baseman rocked a two-run home run into the Monster Seats, giving Boston an early 2-0 lead.
Boston second baseman Bill Hall tacked on another run in the fourth inning, when Huff gave up a solo shot to left field to make the score 3-1.
"A lot of traffic and a lot of pitches for 5 1/3 innings, but I'll take this outing out of him and going forward," Acta said. "We just want him to continue to be aggressive, because we saw a lot of deep counts that got him where it was."
Huff thought he threw his breaking ball well and that his curveball was sharp, but that he lacked consistency in his fastball.
"I wasn't very efficient," Huff said. "As a starter, you are supposed to be going seven innings or more, and it is one of those things you learn from and move on."
Giving up three runs was too much to handle for the Indians, when the lone run Beckett gave up was a solo home run to Lou Marson in the third inning, which at the time managed to cut the Red Sox lead to 2-1.
For Marson, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Columbus to replace injured catcher Carlos Santana, it was his second home run of the season in his third plate appearance against Beckett.
"[Beckett] threw a lot of strikes early in the count and had a cutter, which he threw backdoor to the hitters," Acta said. "Then the second time, he had the breaking ball going. He was very tough."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.