PHILADELPHIA – If he keeps this up, Josh Beckett won’t have to worry about hearing boos anymore.

Beckett pitched 7 2/3 strong innings and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a three-run homer to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Mike Aviles also homered and drove in two runs for Boston, which has won 8 of 10 games overall after taking the final two of this three-game series.

Beckett (4-4) was booed off the mound May 10 when he allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings following news that he had played golf while skipping a start to rest a strained lat muscle — but he has been spectacular since.

After shutting out Seattle in a home win on May 15 by pitching seven scoreless innings and giving up four hits with nine strikeouts and two walks, Beckett allowed one run on seven hits Sunday while striking out five and walking two.

“I was making pitches when I needed to and the defense was unbelievable, everybody contributed,” Beckett said.


“I was keeping the ball down and I threw a few change-ups, or I got ground balls. It’s nice to keep the ball in this ballpark.”

His only blemish was Juan Pierre’s sacrifice fly in the eighth that gave Philadelphia its run.

“His stuff was really moving today,” Boston Manager Bobby Valentine said of Beckett. “He was aggressive in the strike zone and he looked like he wanted it.”

Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 and is 9 for 16 lifetime against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee.

Lee (0-2), making just his sixth start of the season after spending time on the DL with a strained oblique, had his worst start of the year.

In seven innings, he allowed five runs on nine hits — both season highs. He struck out six and walked one.


“They’ve got a good offense,” Lee said.

“They make you throw a lot of pitches. They foul off good pitches until they get one to hit. It’s definitely the sign of a good offense, which they are.”

Aviles led off with a homer for the second straight game, ripping Lee’s 1-1 cutter into the seats in left.

“I just try to put the ball in play, try to hit the ball up the middle and whatever happens, happens,” Aviles said. “I’m just trying to get on base.”

After Aviles’ RBI single in the second gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead, Boston went ahead 5-0 in the third inning on Saltalamacchia’s three-run homer that cleared the seats in center field and reached Ashburn Alley, the fan walkway behind the outfield seats.

Lee said the pitch was a mistake.


“I threw a change-up up out over the plate,” he said.

Lee settled down after that, retiring the next 11 batters before Beckett’s single off the wall in center to lead off the seventh. But the damage had been done.

“I was hoping once (Lee) settled in he started pitching pretty good we could score some runs for him, but we couldn’t do it,” Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. “We hit some balls hard early but we couldn’t get any big hits and drive runs in.”

Beckett was in total command against a lineup that had 15 hits the previous night. Other than the third inning, he allowed just two runners to reach second base before the eighth.

The Phillies threatened in the third, putting runners on second and third with one out after Lee doubled, but Jimmy Rollins grounded out to third and Pierre lined out sharply to first to keep Philadelphia scoreless.

Philadelphia scored its run in the eighth on Pierre’s sacrifice fly to left that scored pinch-hitter Pete Orr, who doubled. Valentine lifted Beckett after he walked Shane Victorino to put runners on first and second.


And the bases were loaded after reliever Vicente Padilla walked Hunter Pence. But Padilla got Ty Wigginton to ground out to second to escape the jam.

“That’s a situation you want to be in and Padilla did a good job,” Wigginton said.

The Phillies were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

NOTES: A day after making a sensational catch in center field, Boston’s Ryan Sweeney didn’t play. Valentine said he would be evaluated further today, mentioning a possible concussion. …

Boston OF Cody Ross didn’t play for the second straight game after fouling a ball off his left leg on Friday.


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