Final, Red Sox 12-2: Mark Melancon yielded a homer to Ben Zobrist, but took care of business. If it wasn’t for the long eighth, Beckett may have notched the complete game.
Bottom 8th, Red Sox 12-1: I’d like to call it the inning that almost never ended.
The Red Sox scored seven runs, had Youkilis at third and Ortiz at second and, at that point, still hadn’t recorded an out. It was certainly more than a half-hour before the Rays got an out.
Josh Beckett’s day is done, but let’s say this — he has developed some chemistry with Shoppach. After this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them paired more often.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox fans were up and cheering for Josh Beckett. He was right, winning will cure everything and so far those pre-game boos are in the past.
The team is one inning away from capturing the victory, but Beckett looks like he’s buying himself some good will with this performance.
He also racked up his first strikeout of the game in the eighth inning. Better late than never.
Bottom 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Wade Davis was dealing that inning, fanning Pedroia, Youkilis and Ortiz and he got them striking out swinging.
Back to Ellsbury for a second. With the likelihood that Valentine will cut a pitcher, it’s seems likely the Sox could go in the direction of calling up Jason Repko.
It all depends on the extent of Ellsbury’s injury. The team isn’t offering many details right now.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-1: In case you didn’t hear, Tampa Bay’s Luke Scott called Fenway “a dump” on Thursday.
As a result of those comments, he got booed — albeit weakly — from the Fenway fans. He chased a plastic wrapper in the middle of his at-bat, though, so at least he’s helping clean it up.
Bottom 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Here’s a first — no, literally — Kelly Shoppach just stole his first career base.
In eight years, the catcher never once swiped a bag. He did it in unorthodox fashion, doing a belly flop en route to the steal.
Well, we’ve all seen history, let’s go home — kidding.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-1: It’s been a quiet afternoon for Evan Longoria. He just flew out to Josh Beckett to go 0-for-3.
Guess the Red Sox would rather not see him considering he belted the game-winning homer in Game 162 last season that changed the fortunes for the Sox and Rays.
Bottom 5th, Red Sox 4-1: Wade Davis is into relieve Badenhop, retires the Red Sox in order.
Remember Davis went 11-10 as a starter for the Rays last year, but since the team was stacked with pitching, he was relegated to bullpen duties.
The team still views him as a starter down the road. It’s a scary staff in Tampa, that’s for sure.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-1: Josh Beckett continues to cruise, but to the surprise of many, hasn’t racked up a single strikeout.
He had a game last year against Philadelphia where he recorded just one strikeout, but obviously, this is an anamoly. But hey, he’s in line for the win.
Bottom 4th, Red Sox 4-1: Jacoby Ellsbury has been pulled out of the game. After hitting an RBI single to drive in Kelly Shoppach, he got tangled up with Reid Brignac on the ensuing sequence as he slid into second base.
He was holding his shoulder as he walked into the dugout. Cody Ross replaced him at center, while Ryan Sweeney came in to patrol right field.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-1: Josh Beckett pitching with the lead for a change. After walking Ben Zobrist, he retired the rest of the batters with no issue.
The Rays also replaced David Price with Burke Badenhop. Price tossed 83 pitches through three innings — yes, that’s a lot — so clearly it wasn’t working for him. He walked three and struck out three.
Bottom 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: With the bases loaded, Adrian Gonzalez did what he does best, belted a single to left for a run.
That’s when the runs started coming in. Kevin Youkilis hit a sac fly while David Ortiz followed with a check swing, infield hit to record another RBI.
But Rays pitcher David Price put himself in that situation. He plunked Shoppach and walked Pedroia and McDonald en route to loading the bases twice that inning. Yeah, that won’t help out.
Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: This outing’s going a lot smoother for Josh Beckett. It was a big one for him, considering the ramifications it may have on the roster.
That was an eight-pitch inning for him. Considering some of his habits to throw long games, some efficiency is always a good thing. He’s been riding his changeup pretty often in this one and it looks sharp.
Bottom 2nd, Rays 1-0: The inning started off well, with David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis getting on base with no outs.
But David Price struck out Darnell McDonald and Cody Ross on successive at-bats, while getting Mike Aviles to ground out.
That said, Youkilis and Ortiz wore down Price with some long at-bats in that inning. Looks like that’s the plan as the Sox try to get out of their funk.
Mid 2nd, Rays 1-0: Tampa Bay’s Jeff Keppinger sliced an RBI double down the left field line to give the Rays the lead.
The Sox are starting off behind once again, which isn’t the most promising of situations. Of course, this time around and it’s early.
With the homefield advantage, players may be fueled more than usual.
End 1st, 0-0: David Price is still really good. The big left-hander just set the Red Sox down in order. He did so pretty aggressively, too, going right at the top of the order with fastballs, and coming all the way back to strike out Adrian Gonzalez after falling behind 3-1.
Mid 1st, 0-0: So far, so good for Josh Beckett.
The right-hander, who heard some boos when introduced prior to the game, worked a scoreless first.
He did allow a double to Carlos Pena, but the right-hander was able to get a pair of fly outs to get out of things.
2 p.m.: Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield are out to throw the ceremonial first pitch. I’m sure we all saw that coming. Fans are loving the reunion over here.
1:56 p.m.: The entire Red Sox lineup was introduced just now and there were a few surprises. When Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was introduced, he received some boos to go along with the cheers.
As expected, Josh Beckett was welcome with boos. A few days earlier, he said he couldn’t control the reception, so clearly he was prepared for them.
Among the players that received the loudest ovations were Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.
1:35 p.m.: Here are the lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Darnell McDonald, LF
Cody Ross, RF
Mike Aviles, SS
Kelly Shoppach, C
Josh Beckett, P
Desmond Jennings, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Matt Joyce, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF
Jeff Keppinger, 2B
Stephen Vogt, DH
Jose Molina, C
Reig Brignac, SS
David Price, P
8 a.m. ET: For the 100th time at Fenway Park, the Red Sox (1-5) will open up a new season and this time local fans will have a chance to see new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine at the helm in person. Valentine will hope the team’s offense and starting pitcher Josh Beckett can turn the corner against the Rays (4-1) at 2:05 p.m.
Last time Beckett took the mound, he was shelled, yielding seven earned runs and five round-trippers to the Tigers. Beckett has been dealing with a thumb injury, which he’s downplayed as minor.
His counterpart on the mound will be Rays pitcher David Price, who recorded a victory in his first appearance of the season against the Yankees. In 6 1/3 innings versus New York, he struck out five batters and surrendered two runs.
For details and analysis from Fenway, follow the NESN.com live blog. Also tune into the game on NESN.
NESN’s gameday coverage kicks off at Noon ET.
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