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03/19/11 7:00 PM ET

Beckett takes responsibility for big inning

Red Sox righty gives up five runs (one earned) in fourth

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The big inning bit Josh Beckett again on Saturday.

Starting for a second straight time against the Pirates on the road, Beckett gave up five runs in the fourth inning, mirroring a six-run fifth Pittsburgh put together against him six days ago.

"It was pretty similar, it was just a different inning," Beckett said after Boston's 7-5 loss at McKechnie Field. "Big inning there in the fourth inning instead of the fifth. I felt good in several of the other innings."

Beckett threw 83 pitches, 49 for strikes, and he threw 34 pitches in the fourth alone. He said the advantage to pitching out of jams in spring can be a confidence boost, but he wasn't trying to spin the frame all that positively.

"That's a lot of pitches in one inning," Beckett said. "I think if that inning would've probably dragged on a little bit longer, I probably would've ended up having to finish up in the bullpen. I don't think anybody likes to have the pitches extended that much in one inning."

Only one of the runs Beckett allowed was earned, but he still took responsibility for being unable to stem the damage.

Jason Varitek was behind the plate in Beckett's previous start and called frequently for the changeup. It was Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate Saturday, and he called for more curveballs, a pitch Beckett said rather bluntly wasn't working. He threw just 4 of 17 for strikes.

A little more work with the changeup wouldn't have been the worst thing, though Beckett didn't say that critically of his catcher.

"I think I could've thrown a few more today," Beckett said. "A lot of that was just Tek really making the emphasis of getting to it. And Salty and I have worked together a couple times, but I think we more went to curveballs than the changeup today."

The insult-to-injury moment in the fifth came on Beckett's first pitch to the opposing pitcher, Kevin Correia. The Pirates are emphasizing their pitchers' ability at the plate this spring, so they've used the DH sparingly, and Correia was batting for himself. Correia notched his second hit of the day, a single through the left side, with the bases loaded and two down. Correia ended up on third because of a Saltalamacchia throwing error.

"That was kind of a joke in the dugout," Beckett said, "and I started the joke."

Overall, Beckett said he feels fine, and manager Terry Francona wasn't worried about Beckett's confidence.

"Actually we talked about that the other day, when he came up here and he had the fifth inning," Francona said. "I said, 'I hope you're able to take more good [than bad],' and he said, 'Yeah, I am.' Which is good, it's Spring Training, it's what you're supposed to do."

Beckett is expected to throw 95 to 100 pitches in his next start, his last before starting the Red Sox's final exhibition before Opening Day, against the Astros in Houston on March 30.

Francona tinkering with Opening Day lineup

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona knows what his Opening Day lineup should be, more or less. He just doesn't know what his lineup should be on Boston's actual Opening Day.

The Red Sox open up the 2011 season in Texas on April 1 at 4:05 p.m. ET, and the Rangers are expected to start lefty C.J. Wilson. More than most southpaws, Wilson's always held left-handed hitters in check, to the tune of a .181 average.

So although Francona knows he wants the left-handed-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury, who's at .429 this spring, to bat leadoff regularly, he's considering batting him ninth against Wilson.

"That's the one thing I guess that's been messing with me a little bit," Francona said. "Because, normally that's a guy [Wilson] that you would maybe do something with. But it's Opening Day, so I don't know how I feel about that."

The rest of the lineup shouldn't be a surprise. Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford will likely bat second and third, and Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez would likely bat fourth and fifth, but both sets are interchangeable. Crawford could easily bat third and Pedroia second, and Youkilis could bat fifth and Gonzalez fourth.

"This next 10 days, you'll see our lineup at some home games probably," Francona said. "Two or three, four times, I'd say."

Worth noting

Left-hander Hideki Okajima struck out two in a perfect inning Saturday in a Minor League game at the Red Sox player development complex. Okajima allowed a three-run homer in a Grapefruit League game on Friday. ... Adrian Gonzalez may play in a Minor League game on Thursday as the DH, likely leading off and playing for four or five innings. ... Fifth starter Daisuke Matsuzaka is likely to throw a simulated game on March 31, the day after the Red Sox play their final exhibition of the spring in Houston against the Astros. Boston was initially scheduled to play a second exhibition with Houston that day, but the game was canceled with deference to the first Major League game of the season that evening (Giants-Dodgers, 8 p.m. ET). Matsuzaka is scheduled to make his first start of the regular season on April 6 in Cleveland.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.