BOSTON – Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw after coming off the disabled list, Josh Beckett dominated for eight innings and the Boston Red Sox beat Cleveland 3-1 Tuesday night after a bench-clearing incident.
The Red Sox won on the day they lost first baseman Kevin Youkilis. He went on the 15-day disabled list with a torn muscle in his right thumb and was going to see a hand specialist, unsure whether he would need season-ending surgery.
But the spirited Youkilis was on the field in the eighth inning when the benches emptied. A pitch by Indians reliever Jensen Lewis that sailed behind Adrian Beltre started things. Lewis, Indians third-base coach Steve Smith and Beckett were ejected.
No punches were thrown, though Smith and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into a heated exchange.
Bill Hall added a solo homer for Boston.
Lowell, who had been on the DL since June 24 with a strained right hip, was expecting to be traded at the July 31 deadline or possibly released the last day or two before he was activated
While he was still receiving a standing ovation on his return, the 2007 World Series MVP hit David Huff's first pitch into the Green Monster seats.
Lowell also made a nice stab on Trevor Crowe's hard grounder to first base in the fifth and dove to the bag for the out.
Beckett (3-1), making his third start after spending just over two months on the DL with a strained lower back, gave up a solo homer to Lou Marson and two singles, striking out eight and walking none.
Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 25th save, becoming the first pitcher in major league history with 25 saves in his first five full seasons.
Huff (2-10), recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, gave to three runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out two. He was sent to the minors after losing to the Pirates on June 19.
Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo was on the ground for a while after getting hit by a pitch in the knee in the third. He got up trotted to first and stole second on the next pitch.
Indians reliever Justin Germano threw a pitch behind David Ortiz in the seventh inning. Ortiz took a slight glance out to the mound and Beckett was on the top step staring out.
Lewis then threw the first pitch of the inning behind Beltre. Home plate umpire Tim Welke got between Beltre and the mound and seemed to have things under control until Beckett led the Red Sox players out of their dugout, screaming and pointing.
NOTES: Ortiz's second-inning infield hit extended his hitting streak to 12 games, his longest since a 13 straight in July 2007. ... The Indians put C Carlos Santana on the 15-day disabled list, a day after he was carried from the field on a stretcher following a collision at home plate. Marson was recalled from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland DH Travis Hafner was also put on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.