On a day when at least some members of Red Sox Nation voiced their frustration over last September's epic collapse, Josh Beckett shrugged off the boos he heard during the Fenway Park Opening Day pre-game introductions and pitched 8 strong innings to help lead the Red Sox to a 12-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Coming off his first start of the season in which he surrendered 5 home runs to the Detroit Tigers, Beckett allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 1. He threw just 94 pitches, 61 of which were strikes.

Jacoby Ellsbury had a pair of hits. scored a run and drove in another; he left the game in the 4th inning with an apparent shoulder injury on an attempt to break up a double play.

Kelly Shoppach, getting the nod again at catcher over Jarrod Saltalamacchia, came up big with 3 hits in 4 at bats; he scored 3 runs and also drove in a pair.

Tampa starter David Price lasted only 3 innings. He was charged with 3 runs (all earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks.

NOTES - After a lethargic 1-5 road trip to begin the season, this was EXACTLY what everyone - Red Sox players and fans - needed. The offense exploded for 12 runs on 16 hits; 8 runs came in the bottom of the 8th inning. Even Kevin Youkilis joined in the fun with a pair of hits and 3 RBI's. Cody Ross was the only Red Sox player without a hit.

Mark Melancon pitched the 9th inning and allowed a home run to Ben Zobrist.

For a guy who runs slow enough to be timed by a sun dial, Red Sox 1st basman Adrian Gonzalez has incredible range in the field. He made a tremendous play on a ground ball to his (far) right in the 9th inning.

Recently retired Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield threw out ceremonial first pitches to Jim Rice and Dwight Evans.

There were loud pre-game cheers for Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Johnny Pesky, and Carl Crawford. The reaction toward new manager Bobby Valentine was mixed.

Jim Monaghan 4/13/2012 04:54:00 PM Edit
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