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Devil Rays beat up on Beckett, Red Sox

Sep 28, 2006 - 2:01 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Josh Beckett was losing a pitching duel. Then he lost it altogether.

Beckett unraveled during a nine-run seventh inning as the Boston Red Sox absorbed a 11-0 beating from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Once again, it was the inability of Beckett to avoid a big inning and the home run ball that hurt Boston and allowed Tampa Bay to salvage a split of the two-game series.

Perhaps more surprisingly, Devil Rays rookie Tim Corcoran (5-9) pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings to snap a nine-game losing streak and win for the first time since July 9.

Corcoran had won four straight decisions heading into the All-Star break but had been winless since. He yielded four hits, struck out seven and walked five.

"We've seen that on several occasions," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Corcoran's season. "We've seen both sides of it. He's lost some games, like the 2-1 game to Minnesota, and to Oakland on the two-run homer late.

"I thought he had it going on with all of his pitches tonight. He had a lot of run on his sinker, some really good sliders and then they started to mix the curveball later. I thought he did a really nice job with all of that."

After Beckett (16-11) surrendered a two-run first-inning homer to Greg Norton, the pitchers put on a clinic through six frames. Corcoran allowed just three of his four hits while Beckett set down 13 straight batters at one point.

But the Devil Rays hammered Beckett in the seventh, with Ty Wiggington belting a two-run double and Rocco Baldelli ending the 26-year-old righthander's night with a three-run homer to center field for an 8-0 lead.

"It was just pitch execution," Beckett said. "I let some things get to me. They put the good part of the bat on the ball. It wasn't anything else."

It was the 36th homer allowed by Beckett, tying him with Chicago's Mark Buehrle for second-most in the American League. It also nudged Beckett's ERA to a season-ending 5.01, not something the Red Sox were expecting when they acquired him from Florida in a six-player trade during the offseason.

"(Carl) Crawford gets on and he can change, if not the whole complexion of the game, the way you approach the game," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said in describing the way the seventh unraveled for Beckett. "(He) tried to pitch to Norton with exclusively slide steps because of what Crawford can do. We lose him and all of a sudden, he is out of sync."

The Devils Rays continued their assault on reliever Bryan Corey, who failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. He gave up four straight hits, including an RBI triple to Crawford, a run-scoring double to Norton and another two-base hit by Wigginton to plate the inning's ninth run.

"I thought we just had some really good at-bats," Maddon said. "I really thought Wigginton's ball to the right-center field gap really sprung things open. (Norton) got it rolling early but Wiggy's kind of done that all year for us."

It was the most runs allowed by the Red Sox in an inning since July 4, 2004 at Atlanta.

Rookie Dustin Pedroia had two hits for Boston.

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