The Closer: In Boston, Less Is More

Notes from a day in baseball ...

1. Red Sox Continue To Economize. It's not often that we get to talk about Babe Ruth's pitching exploits, except, you know, at graduations and funerals. So Wednesday's win by the Red Sox caught our attention, because it was the first time in 90 years that Boston has won back-to-back 1-0 games at Fenway. Josh Beckett threw a four-hitter over eight innings to lead the win over the Royals. The last time the Red Sox won two straight 1-0 games was 1916, when Fenway was only four years old (as was Buck O'Neil, by the way). Ruth got the pitching victory over the New York Yankees on June 22 and Ernie Shore beat the Philadelphia Athletics on June 23. Neither earned the $30 million, three-year contract extension that Beckett (12-5) signed before Wednesday's game, however. Incidentally, umpire Mike Reilly just saw the picture above and called the runner safe.

2. Welcome To Old-Timers Day. It was a matchup between 300-game winners. A game for the ages. And because it was played at Wrigley Field, we don't have to tell you which team lost. OK we will, just for laughs. Roger Clemens got his 343rd career victory — moving into eighth place on the career list — after outdueling Greg Maddux in the Astros' 4-2 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday. Clemens (2-3) threw six shutout innings.

3. How To Win Friends And Influence People. Our story so far: Shea Hillenbrand, a bit miffed that he was excluded from the Blue Jays' starting lineup for two straight games, threw an expletive-filled fit before Wednesday's game. Then Toronto manager John Gibbons called a team meeting and "he had the ass, big time," meaning that he ripped Hillenbrand in front of the entire team. So Hillenbrand refused to sit in the digout during the Rangers' 5-4 win, and was cut by the Blue Jays following the game. And now your favorite team wants to trade for him. Good luck with that.

4. Cleveland Rocks. No sooner had we discovered that the Angels had an eight-game winning streak, than they lost it. Ben Broussard's two-run homer broke Paul John Lackey's scoreless streak at 30 2/3 innings and led the Indians, 6-4.

5. No Sweep For You! Young Seattle upstart reliever Mark Lowe got his first major league win as Seattle broke a four-game losing streak, beating the Yankees 3-2.