The Red Sox have won their home opener Friday afternoon 12-2 behind a dominating performance from Josh Beckett and an eight-run eighth off of Joel Peralta and Josh Lueke.
Getting the start for the Red Sox, Josh Beckett had an odd sort of game. While the Rays seemed ready to hit him hard in the first, with Desmond Jennings lining out to left and Carlos Pena doubling off the wall, Beckett would turn things around in a hurry. The Rays did grab a run in the second inning thanks to a defensively absent Kevin Youkilis allowing a ground ball to skip past him into left, but from there Beckett kept the runs off the board. Taking advantage of an ultra-aggressive Rays lineup, Beckett would get ahead in the count without throwing too many dangerous strikes, and let the Rays get themselves out through poor contact on good pitches. He would only record the one strikeout all game, but it was enough to keep Tampa Bay down for eight innings.
The Red Sox' offense, meanwhile, got back to its old ways of working the count and making David Price throw a lot of pitches. Through five at bats, Price already had thrown 35 pitches. With Price tiring early, the Sox managed to load the bases in the third, and then push three runs across on a single, a sacrifice fly, and--of all things--an "excuse me" swinging bunt from David Ortiz down the left field line. They would reload the bases, but Cody Ross' double play let Price off easy.
Wade Davis managed to hold down the fort for a few innings after Burk Badenhop allowed a fourth run to score in the fourth, but with Joel Peralta coming into the game in the eighth, all bets were off. The Sox chased Peralta with a pair of doubles and a pair of walks, and Josh Lueke played the sacrificial lamb for the Rays, being left in to surrender six more hits as the Sox ballooned their lead to 12-2.
Only a leadoff home run from Ben Zobrist off of Mark Melancon in the ninth marred the performance. Well, than and...
Pyrrhic Victory: The Sox may have won the game, but it looks like they've lost Jacoby Ellsbury in the process. Sliding into second to break up a double play, Ellsbury had shortstop Reid Brignac come down knee-first on his shoulder. Ellsbury stayed down in obvious pain before being replaced by Ryan Sweeney. There's no word yet on if he'll be out or for how long, but Bobby Valentine is expecting to have another outfielder in Boston for tomorrow's game.
Big Day For Backups: Kelly Shoppach and Darnell McDonald each deserve some major credit for their contributions to this game. After getting plunked by David Price in the third (his third hit by pitch of the year), Kelly Shoppach picked up two doubles and a single--off righties no less--while Darnell McDonald played tremendous defense in left and made his way on base a couple of times as well.
Oh, Cody: Cody Ross, on the other hand, didn't have a very good day at all, and is in the middle of a very bad start to the season. While he managed a walk and sacrifice fly against the inept pitching in the eighth, his GIDP could have cost the Sox big on another day. Right now, he's looking like the designated rally killer.