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Red Sox Spring Training 2012: Josh Beckett Leads Shutout Effort As Bats Bludgeon Rays Bullpen

Working behind a strong-if-inefficient Josh Beckett, the Red Sox shut out the Rays and dealt a sound beating to a bullpen asked to pitch nine innings Tuesday en route to an 8-0 victory.

Josh Beckett has had little success against the Rays in the last year, and Tuesday would prove no different for Boston's ace. Throwing five innings on 84 pitches, Beckett held the Rays to just one hit while striking out five batters along the way. If there was a complaint to be made about his outing, it was the length, as three walks built up his pitch count despite the general lack of baserunners.

The Sox' offense, meanwhile, took advantage of a bullpen game from the Rays. After Fernando Rodney started the game with a scoreless inning, the Sox got to work on Joel Peralta in the second with a walk from Kevin Youkilis, a double from David Ortiz, and yet another left field homer from Cody Ross to bring them both home for a 3-0 lead.

After a few quiet innings, Boston would strike again in the sixth on a triple from Dustin Pedroia which brought Jacoby Ellsbury in to score. Now leading by 4-0, the Sox would double their advantage against a woeful Brandon Gomes. Although a strong start to the seventh was wiped out when Ryan Sweeney lined into a double play, leaving the Sox with two outs and just a man on first, Gomes would walk the next three batters he faced to bring a fifth run in.

Gomes' replacement Jhonny Nunez only escaped after a wild pitch and a base hit allowed another three runs to score, giving Boston the 8-0 lead. With Scott Atchison, Franklin Morales, and Mark Melancon providing four strong innings of bullpen work between them, the Sox were able to keep the Rays off the board and end their day with a shutout victory.