ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Beckett had thrown 108 pitches when Bobby Valentine went out to the mound in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
The Rangers had runners on first and third with two outs in a tie game. But Valentine’s meeting with his pitcher was a quick one.
“Just to make sure he had enough,” the manager said. “Josh was barely even winded.”
That faith was misplaced. Beckett threw a wild pitch, the Rangers scored, and the Red Sox were on their way to an agonizing 5-3 loss.
With Michael Young at the plate, Beckett threw a changeup that bounced in the lefthanded batter’s box and got past Kelly Shoppach. Elvis Andrus, who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, scored without a play.
It was the second time in as many games the Red Sox allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. It didn’t cost them Tuesday but it lost the game on Wednesday.
“A wild pitch to score a go-ahead run? A damn shame,” Valentine said.
Beckett left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in. A team official said he was not available. But Beckett was spotted in the concourse outside the clubhouse, posing for photos with family and friends.
Beckett was approached as he was walking alone to the team bus. He said he was trying to throw the pitch for a strike and “just yanked it.” He refused to answer further questions.
Beckett left it to his teammates and Valentine to speak about a mistake they didn’t make. That lack of accountability has become a common practice for Beckett this season. The righthander is now 5-9 and has one victory in his last nine starts.
“It’s tough because we’re playing so hard,” said rookie Will Middlebrooks, 2 for 4 with a home run. “We tried to get runs to support Josh. He went out and pitched his butt off.”
The Sox have lost five of their last six games and 13 of their last 20. After a day off on Thursday, they open a three-game series against the first-place Yankees in New York. The Sox trail their rivals by 10.5 games in the American League East.
“We realize we’re getting to a point where we have to go on some kind of win streak,” Cody Ross said. “We’re running out of chances.”