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Red Sox (ss) 11, Northeastern 0, 7 innings

FORT MYERS, Fla. --Josh Beckett felt sympathy for his Northeastern University opponents, not enough, though, to keep him from working on his curveball.

Beckett allowed a single to the first batter then struck out five of the remaining six he faced in two innings and a Boston Red Sox split squad went on to an 11-0, 7-inning win Thursday.

"It's hard not to pull for some of those guys," Beckett said, "especially that guy that started for them (Kris Dabrowiecki). He walks (Kevin) Youkilis to get to David Ortiz. I don't think he's got to worry about that too much in college."

Class A third baseman Scott White led the Boston offense with a two-run homer in the fifth inning and a grand slam in the sixth that made it 10-0. The Red Sox were hitless until Alex Ochoa doubled in the first run with two outs in the fourth.

The Red Sox also lost to Toronto 4-1 in Dunedin with the help of Aaron Hill's two-run homer in the fourth off Devern Hansack.

They have two more home games on Friday -- in the afternoon against Toronto and at night when Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his first spring training start against Boston College.

On Thursday, Beckett threw 21 pitches, 18 for strikes.

"It starts with throwing offspeed pitches for strikes, which I did pretty well today," he said. "It doesn't really matter what lineup you're facing -- if you're facing college, minor league or major league. That's something you're trying to work on."

He didn't develop that well enough as a secondary pitch to his fastball and finished his first season with Boston with a 16-11 record and a 5.01 ERA. He also allowed 36 homers, more than twice as many as in any of his previous four full seasons with Florida.

"He looked strong with his fastball and threw some good breaking balls," manager Terry Francona said. "It will be amazing how that breaking ball will have more effect also" as a contrast to the fastball.

But on the first pitch of the game, Beckett allowed a single into short right field by David Gustafson.

"He actually hit it off the end of the bat," Beckett said. "He must have been swinging early, I guess. That's what I'd do, too. They were all aggressive."

The Huskies had just one other hit, a single in the third by James Donaldson off winner Craig Breslow.

Beckett is part of an improved rotation with Matsuzaka and Jonathan Papelbon joining it. But he said he doesn't feel less pressure.

"I still have to go out there every fifth day and do my job, I can't worry about their day," he said. "It's going to be fun to watch. It's also nice to have some other guys that kind of pitch the same way you do and you can ask them, `How did you get this guy out?' or `How did you get this guy out.' That's going to help us all."

Notes:@ Manny Ramirez is scheduled to play in his first exhibition game Friday against Toronto. Ramirez reported to camp Monday, four days after the first full-squad workout. ... The Red Sox got 12 of the 21 outs in the seven-inning game on strikeouts. Northeastern pitchers walked 11 batters.

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