ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Josh Beckett overcame early struggles to pitch six effective innings, Will Middlebrooks drove in a pair during a tiebreaking three-run fifth, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 on Sunday.
Beckett (5-7) allowed three runs — all in the first — and eight hits. The right-hander, 5-0 over his past eight games against Tampa Bay, struck out seven and walked two in stopping a personal six-start winless streak.
Boston went ahead 6-3 during the fifth when Daniel Nava homered and Middlebrooks had a two-run single off James Shields (8-6), who has allowed double-digits hits in four consecutive starts.
Boston closer Alfredo Aceves, in a non-save situation, loaded the bases on three walks in the ninth, but retired Hideki Matsui on a high fly to right to end it.