SEATTLE (AP) — It was the worst first inning Josh Beckett has had in years — and it came against the worst hitting team in baseball.
The Red Sox’s right-hander allowed five first-inning runs Saturday night, as many as he had all season, and the Seattle Mariners beat Boston 5-4.
The five runs were the most runs he had allowed in the first since Aug. 17, 2008 when he gave up six to Tampa Bay.
Beckett threw 34 inning pitches in the first to eight batters. Over the next three innings, he would throw 34 pitches to nine batters.
It didn’t matter that the Beckett and three relievers who followed allowed just four hits and no runs over the next eight innings. The damage was done.
Beckett, who has not won since July 23, went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out six.
“Left pitches up. They got hit,” Beckett said. “It’s tough when you are facing a guy like that (Felix Hernandez). The game could have been very easily over before the second inning ever began.”
The Mariners have a .230 team batting average and a league-low 71 home runs.
But Ichiro Suzuki began the five-run first with a leadoff home run, the 34th leadoff home run of his career. It was just the fifth leadoff home run Beckett had allowed in his career. Mike Carp had a two-run single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games and Casper Wells added a two-run home run.
The victory ended the Mariners’ five-game losing streak against the Red Sox, whose lead in the AL East was trimmed to one game over the New York Yankees.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)