He wasn't tagged with the loss in the Red Sox' 6-5 defeat to the New York Yankees last night so his unblemished record (8-0) is still intact, but Josh Beckett still felt responsible for the runs he allowed in his 6 1/3 innings of work.
Beckett threw 117 pitches, including 31 in the second inning, and allowed four earned runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out five. He said it wasn't a matter of not feeling strong, he just didn't get the results he has been getting.
"I thought I had good stuff," said Beckett, who threw 77 for strikes. "They've got a lineup over there of guys who take a lot of pitches. When you're throwing balls that are just missing and they take them, that's sometimes how it goes. I got my pitch count up but I was lucky to have a couple of quick innings so I could continue into the seventh, but it's just one of them deals."
After a scoreless first, Beckett allowed a run in the second when Josh Phelps's two-out single scored Jorge Posada. He allowed just one hit over the next two innings but was touched for three runs in the fifth. One run scored when Alex Rodriguez reached on a bases-loaded infield single to third, but Mike Lowell's throw was low and skipped into foul territory, allowing a second run to come across and Bobby Abreu to take third. The next batter, Jorge Posada, singled to right and the Yankees had a 4-0 lead.
The Sox rallied in the bottom of the fifth to get Beckett off the hook, taking a 5-4 lead, and when Beckett departed after putting two men on in the seventh, he was in line for another win.
"Obviously, when you have good stuff, you want to go out and not give up any runs," said Beckett. "It just all comes down to executing pitches when you need to. I felt fine. I had good stuff from pitch 1 to 117.
"In those [weather] conditions, for some reason, it just keeps you a little fresh. I think it just gives you those extra 10 or 15 pitches. [Manager Terry Francona] indicated he wanted to take me out after the sixth, but I told him I was fine. I still felt really strong.
"It was just making pitches when you needed to. I gave up a couple of timely hits. There was a two-out run in the second. Then the Posada single to let them score the third one in the fifth. Those were the two pitches it comes down to. I gave up four of the six runs. I didn't get the loss but I gave up two-thirds of the runs."
It wasn't the most pitches Beckett has thrown with the Sox; he threw 121 last Aug. 19, also against the Yankees. His career high is 126, on May 20, 2004 while with Florida.
Francona thought Beckett did his part.
"I thought he was better than he thought he was," said Francona. "His location wasn't quite what it usually is but I thought he was pretty good. They worked him in the second inning for 31 pitches. I thought he had real good stuff against a pretty good lineup. I thought he did a good job. He was aggressive with his fastball. He left it up a couple of times but he gathered himself and got it right back down where he needed to."
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.