Josh Beckett threw 33 of his first 40 pitches for strikes. There was no way he could keep that pace up but he didn't need to. Trevor Cahill's rough outing guaranteed that as the Boston Red Sox took the first game of the series by a count of 8-3.
Beckett had very little trouble with the A's offense, tying a season high with 10 strikeouts. He went 7+ innings and wound up allowing 8 hits, 3 runs and a walk, but that doesn't tell how dominant he was early in the game as he only allowed a pair of hits over the first five innings. Beckett threw 77 of his 103 pitches for strikes (74.8%) and that's, um, pretty good.
Cahill's night was the complete opposite, only getting through 5 innings. Though he struck out 5, he gave up 10 hits, 6 runs, walked a pair and coughed up a home run to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the first. Only 61 of his 110 pitches were strikes (55.5%) and he didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury did what you want any leadoff hitter to do, picking up three hits, scoring after a triple and driving in a run of his own. Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly in addition to his homer while Jed Lowrie pushed his average above .100 with a 2-run double off Edgar Gonzalez on a ball that probably should have been caught down the left field line. Instead it dropped in perfectly and bounced into the seats. Adam LaRoche had a pair of doubles. Yeah, the Red Sox had quite a few offensive highlights tonight.
For the A's, even though the bats woke up a bit later in the game and they got to Beckett a little, it was too late to really threaten at any point. Adam Kennedy and Ryan Sweeney had a pair of hits apiece and Kurt Suzuki had a couple RBI but that's pretty much where the good things begin and end.
The most glaring mistake came early in the game after Eric Patterson singled off Beckett's foot. After a throw over to first, Patterson took off on the first pitch to Kennedy, who swung and popped out. After sliding into second Patterson got up past the base and when he turned to hurry back to first he forgot to step on the bag. It's a mistake that just can't be defended no matter what the circumstances are. I know his first thought is getting back to the base to avoid being doubled off, but it doesn't matter when you forget to touch the one you wound up passing. Maybe you can chalk something like that up to youthful inexperience but it's something that ought to be taught at every level. It may be the only time he ever does it but for someone like Patterson, who's trying to impress the team, it can't help in the long run.