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Red Sox Home Opener Live Blog: Offense Explodes, Beckett Gets ‘W’ in Sox’ 12-2 Victory

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The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays line up for the national anthem during the home opener on April 13, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays line up for the national anthem during the home opener on April 13, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s Opening Day at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox open a nine-game homestand with a four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The organization always puts on a show, and the team could really use some Friendly Fenway magic to turn around their 1-5 start.

Read: The Man Who Put The Green In “Green Monster”

Stick with CBSBostonsports.com as we bring you updates throughout the day!

Final, 12-2 Red Sox: All is right in the world — or at least on Yawkey Way — after the Sox finished off the Rays with a 12-2 victory.

Ben Zobrist took Mark Melancon deep to double the Rays’ run total, but a dandy play from Adrian Gonzalez and a nice finish with a strikeout from Melancon earn the Sox their first home victory of the season. They improve to 2-5 on the year, and they’ll be back at it tomorrow at 4 p.m., when Clay Buchholz and Jeremy Hellickson will make the starts for their teams.

End 8th, 12-1 Red Sox: OK, let’s try to break that inning down as best we can.

  • Kelly Shoppach — two-RBI double
  • Ryan Sweeney — two-RBI single
  • Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez — back-to-back singles
  • Kevin Youkilis — two-RBI single (thanks to Joe Maddon playing his infield in while trailing 8-1 in the eighth)
  • David Ortiz — RBI double
  • Cody Ross — sacrifice fly

With the huge lead and the long wait, Beckett is officially done for the day and will get his first win of the year. Mark Melancon is in to close things out.

Bottom 8th, 12-1 Red Sox: We were waiting until the end of the inning for another update, but that’s proving to take a while!

Bottom 8th, 6-1 Red Sox: Kelly Shoppach is having quite the day, and just blew this one wide open. The catcher stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out, and he ripped a double down the left field line to drive in a pair. Davis had gotten into that trouble by giving up a laser double to McDonald and walking Ross and Aviles, so that talk of him looking worthy of a rotation spot we had last inning? Never mind that.

Davis is now out of the game, and the Sox are still at the plate looking to add even more insurance for the ninth.

Middle 8th, 4-1 Red Sox: Beckett did get that strikeout, getting Carlos Pena to whiff on a 3-2 curveball. Pitching to contact served Beckett well this afternoon, as it would be hard to pitch any better than he has. He’s likely done after allowing just five hits and one run over eight innings, needing just 94 pitches to do so.

The question is — how will Aceves perform if the score holds and he gets a save opportunity?

End 7th, 4-1 Red Sox: That was quite the inning from Wade Davis, who’s looked worthy of owning a spot in the rotation thus far today. He struck out the side, and he did it by getting Pedroia, Youkilis and Ortiz. Only a Gonzalez single to right field broke up the inning. Beckett is back on the bump for the eighth. Again, he’s never pitched a game in the majors without recording a strikeout, but he has none thus far today.

Middle 7th, 4-1 Red Sox: Here’s an interesting little bit: Josh Beckett has recorded at least one strikeout in every single one of his career appearances, but he has exactly zero through seven innings today. Will he be back out for the eighth, or will the streak end today? We’ll have to wait and see.

The top of the seventh ended on a Luke Scott fly out to left-center field. Scott, who expressed some displeasure with Red Sox fans this past offseason and called Fenway Park “a dump” earlier today, isn’t exactly the most loved man in Fenway on this day.

Beckett’s at 81 pitches, so it should be safe to believe he’ll be back out for the eighth.

End 6th, 4-1 Red Sox: A two-out rally dies with a Ryan Sweeney pop up to short with two runners in scoring position. The second runner got there in a rather interesting way, as Kelly Shoppach successful tried a delayed steal. It worked, but the catcher’s slide was one of the uglier maneuvers the game has ever seen. He went into a foot-first slide about 10 feet short of the base, popped up, and then sort of fell right on the bag. Hey, whatever works.

Middle 6th, 4-1 Red Sox: Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria hit some deep flies to center, but Cody Ross was there to make the outs in the late afternoon sun. After a Matt Joyce single, Beckett got Zobrist to ground out to end the frame.

Beckett’s really cruising. He dropped his ERA a full run that inning, and he’s allowed just four hits, one run and one walk through six. Oddly, though, Beckett has zero strikeouts on the afternoon.

Despite the success and the Sox winning, there’s an uncomfortable air surrounding the game due to Ellsbury’s injury. It really didn’t look good, the way he left the field, so everyone seems to be awaiting bad news on his shoulder.

End 5th, 4-1 Red Sox: Apparently the Ellsbury injury put this game on fast-forward, as the game has been flying ever since. It took just eight pitches for Wade Davis to buzz through Gonzalez, Youkilis and Ortiz.

By the way, lost in the Ellsbury injury in the fourth was that Price left the game after allowing three runs in the first three innings. Beckett heads back onto the mound for the sixth having thrown just 65 pitches, 40 for strikes. Still, his ERA remains at 7.45, so you can bet he’d like to get a couple of more scoreless innings under his belt.

Middle 5th, 4-1 Red Sox: While the entire ballpark collected its breath, Beckett breezed through the fourth with a seven-pitch inning.

Top 5th, 4-1 Red Sox: Ellsbury is out of the game, and replays of the play do not look good for the health of his right shoulder. Ryan Sweeney enters the lineup in place of Ellsbury.

End 4th, 4-1 Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia grounds into a double play, but the big story coming out of that inning is a scary one for the Sox.

Jacoby Ellsbury slid into second base on the double play, and shortstop Reid Brignac fell right on Ellsbury’s shoulder after throwing to first. Ellsbury was down on the field and the trainers ran out to tend to him. We’ll provide updates as we can. It’s too difficult to speculate anything, but it was clear Ellsbury was in great pain and was grasping his shoulder.

Middle 4th, 3-1 Red Sox: The No. 7 just seems stuck in right field for the Red Sox. Like Trot Nixon and J.D. Drew before him, Cody Ross is rocking the No. 7 out in Fenway’s right field, and he wore it well in the fourth. Ross charged hard on a sinking liner off the bat of Matt Joyce and made a nice diving catch for the first out of the inning.

Beckett then walked Zobrist but retired Keppinger and Vogt to work out of any potential trouble. Beckett is still looking good here.

Here’s another update from Dan Roche at Fenway:

The Red Sox took advantage of a bloop, an excuse-me infield single, two walks and sac fly to put up three runs in the third off Price. The lefty was wild in that inning, though  he’s still throwing mid-90s. He’s also up to 83 pitches through three, so this one should be in the hands of the Rays’ bullpen fairly soon.

End 3rd, 3-1 Red Sox: The Red Sox are in business, and David Price is looking shaky after an eventful bottom of the third.

Kelly Shoppach took a 2-2 pitch off his back, and Ellsbury followed that up with an impressive double on a pitch away that was nearly in the dirt. Ellsbury threw the bat head at the ball, and it was just enough to get over Longoria’s head. The ball actually bounced oddly off the lip of the grass along the left field line, which allowed Shoppach to get to third and Ellsbury to cruise into second.

Pedroia then worked a five-pitch walk, loading the bases for Gonzalez. After swinging at the first two pitches of his at-bat, Gonzalez also made contact with a ball that was far outside, and he was able to hit it through the left side of the infield, which was vacated to play him to pull.

Youkilis followed that up with a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Ellsbury, and David Ortiz hit an excuse-me check swing that also headed to a vacated left side of the infield to score Pedroia.

Price then lost all control, walking Darnell McDonald on five pitches to load the bases for Cody Ross. After falling behind 3-0, Price battled back to a full count and got Ross to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Ross made good contact but had nothing to show for it.

Still, the damage was done, and Price now has thrown 83 pitches.

On the other side, Beckett’s thrown just 41, and he has his first lead of the young season.

3:04 p.m.

Here’s an update from WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche from Fenway Park:

Early Observations

Beautiful day for baseball here at Fenway. Great ceremony and nice to see Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. In listening to both I feel like Tek is having a harder time with retirement. I think he fully expected to be in uniform this year.

Meanwhile, the story so far is David Price. He is simply throwing fastball after fastball, getting it up to as high as 97 mph. He located real well against both Darnell McDonald and Cody Ross in striking them out with runners on first and second in the second inning. Price could be tough all day, although David Ortiz had a tremendous at-bat against him in drawing a walk.

Josh Beckett looks like the Josh Beckett of last season. He needs to keep the ball down and locate in order to have success. Looks much better than his first start.

Middle 3rd, 1-0 Rays: Josh Beckett is operating at quick pace and he’s getting the job done, as evidenced by his 1-2-3 third innings. He got Jennings to fly out in five pitches, got Pena to ground out to first in one pitch and needed just two pitches to retire Longoria with a harmless grounder to short.

Beckett’s at 41 pitches through three. He did give up that run, but it wasn’t exactly his fault that a runner scored from first on a ground ball. Beckett definitely didn’t answer the bell in his first start of the year, but he’s shown up thus far at Fenway.

End 2nd, 1-0 Rays: A leadoff single by Youkilis and an outstanding at-bat from Ortiz that resulted in a walk go for naught, as David Price busted out his paint brush and caught Darnell McDonald and Cody Ross looking at strike three in back-to-back at-bats. Mike Aviles ended the inning with a ground out to second.

The Red Sox did make Price work that inning, though, as he’s now up to 45 pitches through just two innings.

Middle 2nd, 1-0 Rays: The Rays draw first blood, but Beckett is able to minimize the damage to just one run.

That run came when Kevin Youkilis was unable to knock down a sharply hit chopper off the bat of Jeff Keppinger. Ben Zobrist, who led off the inning with a soft grounder that found its way up the middle, scored all the way from the first as the ball made its way into the left field corner.

After that, Bobby Valentine went to work with some of his creative infield shifts, occasionally starting all four infielders back and having them all work their way toward the plate just before the pitch. With the infield playing in, Beckett induced a Stephen Vogt grounder to short (Mike Aviles short-hopped the throw to first, but Gonzalez scooped it) and another 6-3 ground out from Brignac.

End 1st, 0-0: You generally don’t want to give Dustin Pedroia a second chance at the plate, because nine times out of 10, he’ll burn you. Fortunately for the Rays, this was the one out of 10.

The second baseman popped up a pitch from David Price in foul territory, but Evan Longoria and Reid Brignac couldn’t communicate and ended up colliding near the stands. The ball fell, giving Pedroia new life at the plate, but he would eventually fly out to center.

Ellsbury led off the inning with a ground out to third base, and Adrian Gonzalez ended it with a swinging strikeout against Price.

Price threw 19 pitches in the first, compared to Beckett’s 17.

Middle 1st, 0-0: It was a busy inning for left fielder Darnell McDonald. He caught a fly ball from leadoff man Desmond Jennings, jumped unsuccessfully in an attempt to catch what would eventually be Carlos Pena’s double and caught a shallow pop from Evan Longoria. Matt Joyce then flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center to end the inning.

It’s early in the season and the game, but you have to think that Beckett really needed a quick and easy first inning like that one. Otherwise, things could have gotten a little ugly inside Fenway.

Top 1st, 0-0: The first pitch from Josh Beckett to Desmond Jennings is a ball high, and baseball at Fenway begins for the 2012 season.

2:01 p.m.

Two strikes from Varitek and Wakefield. Baseball is mere minutes away now from Fenway Park.

2 p.m.

As we all expected, the first pitch will be involve the recently retired Red Sox legends, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. But Varitek won’t be catching, though, as Wakefield will throw to Dwight Evans and Varitek to Jim Rice.

1:54 p.m.

It sounded like there were a few scattered boos for Beckett, too. But that was quickly washed away by tremendous applause for Johnny Pesky, who took the field at a spry 92 years old.

1:52 p.m.

There were a lot of cheers for Bobby Valentine, but there were also some definitive boos from the Fenway crowd. Interesting.

Ellsbury, Pedroia and Ortiz, as expected received the loudest cheers, while Youkilis got his standard, “Yoooouuukkk!”

1:44 p.m.

Only a mild boo for Luke Scott, who had some not-so-kind things to say about Red Sox fans this offseason.

1:41 p.m.

The pregame ceremony is officially under way. Dave O’Brien, Don Orsillo and Joe Castiglione are standing at microphones behind home plate. We’ll provide updates throughout!

1:00pm

Dan Roche checks in from Fenway:

It’s nice to be back at Fenway for another baseball season. It’s been a little quiet so far, but there is still an excitement in the air.

I saw John Henry walking around the dugout earlier, and he seemed to be in a very good mood. I also spoke with GM Ben Cherington for a few minutes, and he was upbeat and in an extremely good mood as well.

Roche Blog: Just Win!

The players all seem the same way, as they are excited to see their home crowd for the first time this season.

The key to today: Josh Beckett. I think he’ll be fine; I really do. I predict a strong day from him, with no thumb worries.

Enjoy the game everyone!

12:45pm

Josh Beckett is on the hill for Boston today, and Bobby Valentine said there has been no talk about his thumb since the start of the season.

“He looked good this morning. He had bounce in his step and he’s ready to go,” said Valentine.  “I’m looking forward to a quality pitcher pitching a quality game.”

The Red Sox lineup was out earlier, with Kelly Shoppach behind the plate and batting ninth. Jarrod Saltalmacchia was behind the plate for Beckett is his first outing in Detroit, and Valentine was asked about the move when he spoke to the media earlier.

“It’s just one of those things; with a left-hander pitching and his old team in town,” said Valentine. “He’s hit left-handers well and if anybody knows this team, I would think he does. Just trying to get it done.”

The Red Sox have a tough task ahead of them with David Price on the mound for the Rays, who is 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA against the Sox in 10 career starts, so any insight they can get.

12:20pm

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine addressed the media prior to his first home opener at Fenway.

“I woke up excited. I think it’s going to be a special day,” said Valentine. “I hope we give them a good show; I’m sure we will.”

“I don’t know if it’s nerves; just anticipation,” he said. “And it’s a beautiful day, so let’s go do it.”

WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche spoke with a few players in the locker room, and they’re just as excited.

Ortiz, Ross On Home Opener: 

Here is a complete list of the celebrations planned for the Home Opener. We’ve yet to hear anything about who will be throwing out the first pitch, but stick with us as it gets closer to game time!

Here is nice note to leave on: the Red Sox have won their last seven home openers.

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