Beckett falls short of all-time Red Sox pitching mark

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, the first seven-game winner in the majors, left after four innings Sunday with a torn flap of skin on his right middle finger and failed in his attempt to tie a franchise record with a victory in his first eight starts.

Beckett allowed two runs to the Orioles in the first inning and left trailing 2-0. He struck out seven and walked two before Kyle Snyder relieved to start the fifth.

"[Josh] came in after the inning and said [the tear] was starting to pull away a little bit," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said, according to the Boston Herald. "As a result, because of the way it was feeling and the way it looked, he didn't want to push it because of the potential to miss [games] long-term."

The Red Sox scored six times in the bottom of the ninth to beat Baltimore 6-5.

Beckett was attempting to join Babe Ruth and two other Red Sox pitchers by winning each of their first eight starts in a season. Roger Clemens had 14 wins and a no-decision in his first 15 starts in 1986.

"There are two things we have to do," said Beckett, who has a history of blister problems but said the latest isn't as serious. "We have to get it to dry out because you have fresh skin, and then we have to toughen it up. What the timetable is, I'm not sure.

"Hopefully it won't affect me. In fact, we're not going to let that happen. It's not one of those deals where you want to go out and hurt an elbow or anything like that."

Beckett's next turn in the rotation would come Friday against Atlanta in Boston.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.