Boston Red Sox defeat Atlanta Braves, 4-1

ATLANTA - As a rule - and a prudent one, at that - manager Terry Francona avoids Josh Beckett when he pitches.

That goes for before and during games. Why face that intensity, that competitiveness more than absolutely necessary? That was why Francona was set to send Beckett out for the eighth in a consecutive scoreless stretch that had reached 16 innings.

He sent John Farrell, his usual emissary, to get Beckett’s blessing.

“I was certainly ready to let him hit and go ...