Beckett roughed up, but Boston beats Devil Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Josh Beckett refused to make excuses for a rocky outing in his spring debut for the Boston Red Sox.

The right-hander, acquired from Florida in a seven-player trade during the offseason, allowed five runs in three innings of Boston's 8-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday.

Even though it's only spring training, Beckett did not take the performance lightly.

"It's not like I was just out there trying to throw my pitches. If I was going to do that, I would have just thrown a 50-pitch bullpen. When I'm out there, I'm trying to get people out," the 2003 World Series MVP said.

"I wanted to get a feel for these guys [the Devil Rays], just like they wanted to get a feel for me. They felt me pretty good," he said.

Julio Lugo and Jonny Gomes each hit a solo homer in the first for the Devil Rays, who also scored off Beckett on Carl Crawford's
RBI double, Aubrey Huff's sacrifice fly and a wild pitch in the third.

Lugo homered on Beckett's fourth pitch, and Gomes' shot to left field came on the first pitch to Tampa Bay's cleanup hitter. The three-run third followed a perfect second for Beckett, who allowed five hits, struck out two and walked one.

The 25-year-old right-hander said he felt strong physically but did not do a good job of locating his pitches.

"I'm not going to feel that good and pitch that bad very often. ... I guess I can take that as a positive point," Beckett said.

"I made some mistakes that shouldn't happen. You learn from it and move on. It was all about executing pitches. I didn't. I left the ball to Gomes in the middle of the plate, trying to get it in. Lugo, same thing. Actually I was trying to go away and left it in the middle of the plate," he said.

Beckett, who agreed last month to a $4,325,000, one-year contract, is coming off a season in which he set career highs for wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts while going 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA for the Marlins.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said it simply was good to see Beckett on the mound in a Boston uniform.

"A healthy Beckett is exciting," Francona said. "He looked strong. ... You always want to win, but we want him to get ready for the season."

Boston rallied on Josh Bard's two-run double in the fourth and Dustan Mohr's two-run homer off Chad Harville in the sixth. The Red Sox added three more in the seventh, with Josh Pressley's two-run single providing the go-ahead runs.

Game notes
Boston's lineup did not include any regulars. ... Tampa Bay starter Doug Waechter pitched two perfect innings. ... Devil Rays reliever Shinji Mori, sidelined since last week because of soreness in his right shoulder, is scheduled to begin throwing again on Tuesday.