Josh Beckett took up to 45 seconds between pitches in the first inning Sunday, the pauses becoming so lengthy at one point that the fans at Tropicana Field started to boo him.

By the time the inning was over, Beckett had allowed three runs on four hits.

It has happened before this season, Beckett starting games poorly and pitching at an aggravatingly slow pace. You can usually pin it on his being stubborn or on some kind of misguided gamesmanship.

But Beckett had a valid excuse this time. A bout with the flu left him feeling weaker than normal and he was dizzy from taking antibiotics to fight the illness.