Rays - 001 000 020 - 3 3 0Beckett -- 7-2-1-3-10, 93 -- began the season beautifully, throwing 11 pitches to three batters in the first, and striking out two Rays.
Red Sox - 103 001 00x - 5 9 0
In the bottom half, after Ellsbury struck out looking, Pedroia gave Boston a quick 1-0 lead by clubbing an inside pitch over the Wall. Ortiz lined Shields's next offering into center for a single and after Youkilis flew to right, Drew went the other way, doubling off the Wall, and Bay walked. With the bases loaded, Lowell let Shields off the hook by popping out to Navarro on the first base side of the plate.
After a perfect second (on only five pitches) and with one down in the third, Beckett had retired the first seven Tampa Bay hitters on only 18 pitches, 15 of them strikes. But he then hit a bump or two. The 8-9 hitters walked (Gross was nearly thrown out while stealing second) and Iwamura singled to followed with a hit to left to load the bases. Crawford jumped on the first pitch and flew out to the track in center, bringing in Gross and tying the game. Longoria flew to right to end the threat.
The Red Sox stormed back immediately. Shields walked FY on four pitches and after Ortiz flew out to right, Yook singled to left (breaking an ugly 0-for-18 against Small Game James). Drew's hard grounder to first -- Pena dove towards the line, saving a hit and serious damage -- brought home Pedroia, Bay's single scored Yook, and Lowell's double to left scored Bay. Boston led 4-1.
Beckett was cruising -- striking out two batters in each of the fourth and fifth -- when he walked Iwamura to start the sixth. Crawford doubled to left-center. Beckett got Longoria to foul out to Varitek back by the screen and, with Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez warming, he caught Pena looking and got Burrell to ground easily to third.
Varitek homered down the right field line in the sixth, giving Boston a 5-1 lead. (That deserves its own paragraph.)
Hideki Okajima relieved Beckett and began the eighth by hitting Bartlett and walking Iwamura. He struck Crawford out on three pitches and was pulled for Justin Masterson. After an uncontested double steal put runners on second and third, Longoria sliced a single to right, scoring both runners and cutting Boston's lead to 5-3. Masterson slipped a strike three past Pena -- his fourth K of the day (he saw only 15 pitches) -- then got Burrell to fly to right. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out the final two batters.
The lineups that were expected (below) are the actual lineups. Terry Francona talks a little bit about his batting order here.
Let's begin again / Begin the begin ...
James Shields (2008: 3.56, 125 ERA+; Spring 2009: 14.1 IP, 8.16 ERA) / Josh Beckett (2008: 4.03, 115 ERA+: Spring 2009: 27.2 IP, 3.25 ERA)
Red Sox against Shields / Rays against BeckettRays Red Sox
Akinori Iwamura, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B David Ortiz, DH
Carlos Pena, 1B Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Pat Burrell, DH J.D. Drew, RF
Matt Joyce, CF Jason Bay, LF
Dioner Navarro, C Mike Lowell, 3B
Gabe Gross, RF Jed Lowrie, SS
Jason Bartlett, SS Jason Varitek, C
Happy 91st birthday, Bobby Doerr!