Since that July 8 start, Beckett has been dominant. After tossing eight one-hit innings with six strikeouts and zero walks against the Rays on July 17, Beckett allowed just one earned run over seven innings with seven strikeouts Saturday against the Mariners.
Beckett (9-3, 2.07 ERA) has won five of his last six decisions and has demanded respect from the opposition he has mastered throughout much of the season.
"He's a tough pitcher," said Mariners rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley. "He's got great offspeed and life on his fastball. He's one of those guys you just have to take that curveball when you can, because that's his tough pitch."
Luke Hochevar will oppose Beckett and look to build off his last start in which he earned his first victory in nearly a month. Hochevar lasted just 5 1/3 innings, but he picked up the win after giving up four earned runs on six hits to the Rays. The right-hander was better on July 15, when he put together one of his best starts of the season -- a tough-luck no-decision in which he allowed one earned run on three hits over seven innings to the Twins.
Royals: Rookie on a run
Royals rookie Eric Hosmer is in the midst of a bounce-back month following a comparatively quiet June. Hosmer is hitting .326 (31-for-95) with five home runs, 18 RBIs and eight doubles in July after hitting .253 (25-for-99) with no long balls and 10 RBIs last month. Hosmer has been especially hot over the last week. The first baseman is hitting .486 (17-for-35) with one home run, eight RBIs and four doubles over his last eight games. He has recorded seven multihit games in that span.
Red Sox: Ace in the hole
Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to a career-high 24 games on Wednesday with a 3-for-4, two-RBI night. Pedroia is hitting .406 (43-for-106) with eight home runs, 19 RBIs, 26 runs scored, nine doubles and one triple during the streak. The second baseman has now reached base safely in 37 straight games since June 15 -- the longest such streak in the Majors this season.
For a 29-year-old pitcher that did make his big league debut until 2008, Alfredo Aceves has entered rarified air with the way his career has started. The right-hander, who is now 6-1 this season, has won 15 straight relief decisions, dating back to June 7, 2009. It is the longest such streak since Phil Regan won 15 straight decisions with the Dodgers from May 17, 1966, to May 10, 1967. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Aceves, who owns a 20-2 career record, is the first pitcher to win 20 of his first 22 decisions since Howie Krist went 20-2 from 1937-42 for the St. Louis Browns.
Clay Buchholz will see another specialist for his injured back after he skipped a scheduled bullpen session on Wednesday.
Catcher Salvador Perez's rapid rise in the Royals' organization continued on Wednesday when he was promoted to Triple-A Omaha.