Valentine laments another Beckett loss

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine called it a “damn shame” that his starter Josh Beckett suffered another loss Wednesday, 5-3 to the Texas Rangers, despite a decent pitching performance.

However, Beckett (5-9) was charged with a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning that led to the Rangers' winning run. Overall, he worked seven innings and allowed four runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

“He was great,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of Beckett’s performance. “He was awesome. The balls we hit they caught, and the balls they hit kind of fell in. It’s baseball, I guess.”

Beckett chose not to speak to the media after his outing; instead the Texas native stood outside the clubhouse with family and friends.

For most of his previous 16 outings, the first inning has been a nightmare for Beckett. Entering Wednesday’s game, he had a 10.69 ERA, allowing a total of 19 runs, with opponents batting .343 against him in the first inning. But he finally put up a zero on Wednesday.

“He gave us a zero in the first inning as promised,” Valentine said. “He pitched a good game.”

This time, however, it was the fourth inning that did Beckett in. He allowed three runs on five hits, with a squeeze play mixed in, as the Rangers erased a two-run deficit and gained a 3-2 lead. After that inning, Beckett retired six in a row, and thanks to a Pedroia homer in the top of the sixth, the Red Sox tied the game at 3-3.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Beckett hit the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus with a pitch. Beckett struck out Josh Hamilton for the second out of the inning, but Adrian Beltre’s single put runners on the corners.

Valentine made a trip to the mound to make sure Beckett, who had thrown a season-high 108 pitches at that point, felt he could finish the inning. The manager returned to the dugout.

“I wanted to make sure he had enough,” Valentine said. “Last night, [Clay Buchholz] was really sweating, and Josh was hardly winded.”

Beckett’s second offering to Michael Young was outside and in the dirt and got past Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach, allowing Andrus to score the winning run.

“He really battled,” Valentine said. “Damn shame.”