Former Red Sox Josh Beckett throws first no-hitter

Chase Utley could only hold the bat on his shoulders as the final strike of Josh Beckett’s no-hitter whipped past him for strike three.
Beckett pitched the first no-hitter of his stellar career and the first in the majors this season, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 on Sunday.
The struggling Phillies didn’t even come close to getting a hit, getting shut out for the fourth time in their last seven home games at cozy Citizens Bank Park.
Utley had already left the clubhouse when reporters arrived. The fact he took two called strikes with a 3-1 count, including a 94 mph fastball right down the middle to end it, was an indication of how well Beckett fooled hitters.
“From the sixth inning on, he pitched backward and our guys got anxious,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He had an excellent curve and threw his changeup in fastball counts.”
Runs already have been a problem for the Phillies. Now they can’t even get hits.
“We have to figure that out,” Marlon Byrd said. “We had chances against (Clayton) Kershaw (Friday night), but he made some pitches. Beckett today had no-hit stuff and used it and showed it. The other shutout and struggles, I have no clue. We keep coming every single day trying to figure it out. When it doesn’t happen, we try to come out the next day and figure it out. We’re not getting there. Not here, not at home. I don’t know. I have no answers.”
Beckett struck out six and walked three against a lineup that included two former NL MVPs and four former All-Stars.
“He was good. There’s no more to be said,” said Jimmy Rollins, who drew a two-out walk in the ninth.
Beckett threw 128 pitches. Last year, the 34-year-old right-hander’s career was almost derailed by a nerve condition that left him unable to feel his fingertips.
Beckett mixed a sharp fastball with a slow, deceptive curve that kept hitters off-balance. He pitched the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since Hideo Nomo beat Colorado at Coors Field in 1996, and the 21st in franchise history. Sandy Koufax threw four.
“It’s frustrating but you have to tip your hat to Beckett,” said Ben Revere, who grounded out to begin the ninth. “He pitched a heck of a game.”
Phillies righty A.J. Burnett (3-4) allowed six runs — four earned — and 11 hits in seven innings in a matchup against his former Marlins teammate. Burnett is 1-3 with a 6.26 in his last four starts.
Beckett pitched the first no-hitter in the majors since Miami’s Henderson Alvarez did it against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 season.
Beckett also became the first visiting pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Philadelphia since Montreal’s Bill Stoneman stopped the Phillies on April 17, 1969, at Connie Mack Stadium.
All of the defensive plays behind Beckett were routine. Domonic Brown had the hardest out, a liner that left fielder Carl Crawford ran down near the warning track in the fifth.
Beckett retired pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. on a popup to shortstop to start the ninth. Revere followed with a grounder that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez fielded, and he flipped to Beckett covering the bag for the second out.
Rollins was up next, and Beckett walked him on a full-count pitch. That brought up Utley, and when the count when to 3-2, Dodgers catcher Drew Butera went to the mound to talk to Beckett.
Beckett then froze Utley, and plate umpire Brian Knight called strike three to end it.
Beckett walked off the mound, pumped his fist and was mobbed by teammates. He got a standing ovation from the crowd of 36,141 at Citizens Bank Park on his way to the dugout.
Last July, Beckett had a rib removed in thoracic outlet syndrome surgery to fix a condition that was affecting his right arm. He went 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight games in 2013.
Beckett (3-1) started this season on the disabled list with a thumb injury, raising more doubts about how effective he would be this season.
A three-time All-Star, Beckett was the MVP of the 2003 World Series for the Marlins, capping off their championship run by pitching a five-hit shutout in the clinching Game 6 at Yankee Stadium.
Roy Halladay had the only other no-hitter at cozy Citizens Bank Park, doing it for the Phillies in a 4-0 playoff win over Cincinnati on Oct. 6, 2010.
In 1988, Pascual Perez of the Expos held the host Phillies hitless for five innings at Veterans Stadium before the game was stopped because of rain. A Major League Baseball committee later ruled that no-hitters of less than nine innings didn’t officially count.
Beckett walked Utley in the first and Byrd in the second before retiring 23 straight batters.