Boston Red Sox's Jason Varitek, right, is greeted by David Ortiz and Carl Crawford (13) after Varitek's two-run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in Cleveland.

Is there any hotter pitcher in the American League right now than one Josh Beckett? Probably not.

After another dominating performance last night against the Cleveland Indians in a 4-2 win, Beckett raised his record to 4-1 and has a paltry 1.69 ERA. If it weren’t for the bullpen letting him down a few times this year, Beckett could easily be leading the league in wins. It also goes to show you how unimportant a pitcher’s win total is.

What matters the most is the number of wins a team has. If you ask Beckett, he’ll tell you the team win is more important to him.

While Beckett was out there doing his thing, he got some help from his batterymate Jason Varitek on both sides of the plate. When Beckett got into some jams, the Captain bailed him out by throwing two baserunners trying to steal second. When the Red Sox needed some insurance runs in a tight one-run ballgame in the 7th inning, the Captain came through with his first home run in nearly a full calendar year (last one was May 30, 2010).

And when Beckett got into a little jam in the 7th inning with two outs, the bullpen didn’t let him down this time. Instead Rich Hill came in and struck out Jack Hannahan looking on a nasty curveball to end the threat. And after a giving up a leadoff walk in the 8th, Hill retired the next three batters to hand off the game to Jonathan Papelbon.

Papelbon did allow a home run to Travis Buck and while the last two outs he recorded were loud outs, he helped save Beckett’s first regular season win in Cleveland. And more importantly, it was the first win in Cleveland for the Red Sox after four losses this season.

Speed can kill and it did just that on Tuesday night.

Carl Crawford was hit by a pitch from Fausto Carmona in the third inning. He then stole second, went to third on a Drew Sutton groundout. And after a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Crawford came in a on Jed Lowrie sac fly. With Adrian Gonzalez at the plate, Ellsbury stole second and promptly scored on a double from Gonzo.

With the way Beckett was dominating the hitters, you knew as long as Beckett was in the game that’s all the run support he would need. Beckett finished the night with six strikeouts walking three in 6 2/3 innings. He did allow one run.

It was nice to see all facets of the game clicking last night. What was even better was to see Varitek, who’s been struggling all season long at the plate and throwing runners out, to come up with the clutch home run late and gunning down baserunners trying to steal. Just a short while ago, we all wanted a change behind the plate between the Captain and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

But if they keep this up, things will be just fine for the Red Sox. Now if Daniel Bard can get his head screwed on straight, they’ll be even better.

With the day game today at 12:05 p.m., we’ll be back in a short while with this afternoon’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the morning. But for now, enjoy the overnight links by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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A Hill of a streak: Rich Hill’s unlikely path to Red Sox history [Alex Speier –]

Sox rely on Tek’s support [Boston Globe]

Work in pen a start for Lackey [Boston Globe]

Backstops become backbones [Boston Globe]

Josh Beckett dealing like an ace again [Boston Herald]

Varitek’s catching up [Boston Herald]

Returns good on Lackey [Boston Herald]

Red Sox find way up-Hill [Boston Herald]

Red Sox edge Indians, 4-2 []

Lackey: ‘Pretty good’ during side session []

Notes: Varitek does it all to beat Tribe []

Rapid reaction: Sox 4, Indians 2 [ESPN Boston]

Hill fills breach, builds bridge to Papelbon [ESPN Boston]

Jason Varitek gets comfy at, behind plate for Boston Red Sox [ESPN Boston]

Actions speak louder than words for Josh Beckett [Extra Bases]

Closing Time: Red Sox 4, Indians 2 [Full Count]

Video: Jason Varitek Says Josh Beckett’s Cutter, Changeup Key to Win Over Indians []

Video:  Josh Beckett Praises Jason Varitek’s Performance Behind the Plate Against Indians []

Jason Varitek Provides Latest Example of Resurgence by Red Sox Catchers []

Boston gets charge from battery [Providence Journal]

Lackey closing in on return [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: Lefty Hill shows he’s got the right stuff [Providence Journal]

Okajima clears waivers, outrighted to PawSox []

Jenks will make rehab outing before returning []

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSNNEESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland Plain Dealer websites. You can also check out our Bloguin brother Burning River Baseball.

Photo credit: AP Photo