BOSTON (AP) — Josh Beckett allowed just five singles for his first shutout since joining the Red Sox, and Jason Varitek doubled twice and scored twice to lead Boston to a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
Beckett (8-4) rebounded from giving up a season-high 11 hits in his last outing for his first complete game of the year. He struck out seven, walked none and only allowed one runner to reach second base to win for the sixth time in seven decisions.
Varitek helped Boston spoil the homecoming of ex-batterymate Derek Lowe, who spent 7 1/2 seasons with the Red Sox and helped them end their 86-year World Series drought.
In his first appearance at Fenway since the 2004 AL championship series — and his first-ever game against the Red Sox — Lowe (7-5) allowed three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out two.
The Braves lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
Lowe and Beckett were locked in a scoreless game until the fifth, when Varitek doubled off center fielder Nate McLouth's glove and scored on Nick Green's double. J.D. Drew doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on Kevin Youkilis' single to make it 2-0.
Boston scored another in the seventh to chase Lowe, but the Fenway crowd rose to give him a standing ovation as he walked to the visitor's dugout and he waved his cap in appreciation.
The lanky right-hander came to the Red Sox with Varitek in 1997 a lopsided trade for heartbreak closer Heathcliff Slocumb, and together they became the core of the team that would lead the franchise to the '04 World Series title. Lowe, who was bounced from the rotation after struggling down the stretch, earned the victory in the clinching game in all three playoff series.
NOTES: 3B Mike Lowell got the day off and might get another on Sunday because he's "feeling beat up," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. ... Beckett threw just 94 pitches. ... The game lasted a brief 2 hours, 11 minutes. ... Atlanta closes out its nine-game road trip on Sunday.
by the associated press