Final: Red Sox 12, Rays 2: Certainly a successful home opener for the Sox, who mash the Rays, 12-2, behind Josh Beckett (eight great innings) and Kelly Shoppach (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBIs). A crowd of 37,032 enjoyed the game and temperate weather to boot.
Back later with more from the clubhouse.
Top of the 9th: Red Sox 12, Rays 1: Stop the fight!
The Red Sox sent 14 men to the plate and scored eight runs. Joel Peralta started the inning and didn’t get an out. McDonald doubled, Ross walked, Aviles walked and Shoppach pounded a two-run double to left.
In came unfortunate Josh Lueke.
Sweeney dumped a two-run single into center. Pedroia followed with an infield single. Gonzales then floated a single to left to load the bases. Youkilis had a two-run single to center. Ortiz followed with an RBI double. McDonald then walked, making it 10 batters in a row to reach.
Ross flied to deep center to drive in a run. Aviles singled to reload the bases but Shoppach and Sweeney popped out.
The Sox have 12 runs on 16 hits. Not bad. Mark Melancon in to finish up.
Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Beckett retired the side in order again. He has been brilliant. He also got that strikeout to extend his streak, whiffing Pena.
Top of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Gonzalez singled. But other than that, Davis struck out the side. The shadows between the plate and the mound is killing the hitters.
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Beckett had a seven-pitch inning, allowing a single by Molina. Fenway-hating Luke Scott pinch hit and hit the ball well, but McDonald tracked it down in front of the wall. Take that.
Beckett has thrown 81 pitches. Complete game, perhaps. Meanwhile, Beckett has at least one strikeout in all 280 games he has pitched. But none through seven innings today
Ellsbury update: Red Sox announce only that he has a “right shoulder injury” and will be evaluated further.
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Aviles reached on an error by Brignac with two outs. Shoppach singled him to third. Shoppach then stole the first base of his career on the first attempt of his career. Oh, that Bobby V.
Shoppach sort of fell then got up and fell again and landed on the base. It was all for naught when Sweeney popped to short.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Beckett allowed a single by Joyce in what was otherwise a clean inning that took nine pitches. The shadow between the mound and the plate is working for him. So is his location. Beckett hasn’t had a big fastball today but he’s putting all his off-speed stuff right where he wants to.
He is at 74 pitches. Really impressive day for him so far.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: 1-2-3 inning for the second Rays reliever, Wade Davis.
Middle of the 5th: Rays 4, Red Sox 1: 1-2-3 inning for Beckett, who has retired 12 of the last 13 batters he has faced and is at an economical 65 pitches through five innings. Reports of his demise appear premature. Those pesky facts.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Shoppach had a one-out double off the wall in right center and scored on a single by Ellsbury. With Ellsbury running, Pedroia grounded right at second base. Brignac started the double play. Ellsbury was injured sliding into the bag and was slow getting up. It appeared that Brignac fell on Ellsbury’s right shoulder.
Ellsbury has been taken out of the game. Ross is in center and Sweeney in right. No word on the injury as of yet. We’ll keep you posted.
Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 1: Beckett worked around a one-out walk by Zobrist. He is at 58 pitches. Burke Badenhop now pitching for the Rays.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 1: Shoppach was hit by a 2-and-2 fastball. Ellsbury then hit the softest double you’ll ever see, a little flare over third base than kissed the grass near the foul line and rolled just far enough.
Pedroia walked on five pitches to load the bases. Gonzalez, down two strikes right away, knocked a 96-m.p.h. fastball into left field to drive in the first Fenway run of the season for the Sox. That’s seven RBIs in seven games for Gonzo.
Youkilis, also behind in the count, delivered a sacrifice fly to right field. Ortiz was next. Price got ahead of him and got Ortiz to take a half-swing at a fastball on the outside corner. Ortiz made contact and hit a dribbler to the left side that was good enough for an RBI infield single.
Price’s 38th pitch of the inning was hit hard by Ross but turned into a inning-ending double play.
Middle of the 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Nice tidy eight-pitch inning for Beckett as he retires the side in order As Bob Ryan just pointed out, his ERA has plunged from 13.50 to 9.39.
Top of the 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Youkilis singled (to culminate an eight-pitch at-bat). Ortiz then walked on the eighth pitch he saw. First and second, nobody out and the Sox were in business, right?
Wrong. McDonald struck out looking on three pitches and Ross on four. Aviles then grounded to second. Price has thrown 45 pitches in two innings, however. The Sox are doing a much better job of grinding out at-bats today then they did Wednesday in Toronto against Ricky Romero.
Middle of the 2nd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Zobrist, who has one hit in 20 career at-bats against Beckett, swung at a two-strike curveball leading off the second inning and grounded up up the middle for a single.
With Keppinger up, Zobrist was running on the second pitch. As he took off, Keppinger lined a fastball down the third-base line. The ball rolled into the corner in left and Zobrist scored without a play.
Beckett limited the damage. Vogt grounded to second and, with the infield in, Molina grounded to shortstop. Brignac then grounded to shortstop to end the inning.
Top of the 2nd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: The Sox went in order, but Price needed 19 pitches to do it as Ellsbury (5-3), Pedroia (F-8) and Gonzalez (K) worked good at-bats.
strong>Middle of the 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox coming up: Jennings lined to left. Pena then doubled off the wall, delighting the patrons from Haverhill. Longoria flied to left and Joyce flied to center. Seventeen pitches for Beckett, nine of them strikes.
Ready to go: The Sox take the field, Beckett is warming up and we’re just about ready to go.
Play ball: Johnny Pesky just said “Play Ball!” with the whole team behind him.
First pitch: Here they are, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield in their jersey tops out from behind the flag. They’re each throwing out a pitch. Dwight Evans is catching one and Jim Rice the other.
Honoring America: There was a rousing anthem from the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Cheers and boos: There was a mixed reception for Bobby Valentine. Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi got the loudest cheers. Josh Beckett got a lot of boos, more than Bobby V.
Huge cheers, of course, for 92-year-old Johnny Pesky.
Introducing the Sox: Big cheers for Carl Crawford, who’s here taking a break from his rehab. He’s in good spirits. The bench guys are getting introduced now.
Ceremonies begin: Loud boos for Luke Scott. Hopefully he didn’t ask to see Fenway’s birth certificate.
The Rays were introduced and now come the Sox.
Pre-game: Good afternoon from Fenway Park and the home opener. It’s a beautiful day and the old ballpark looks pretty darn good for 100 years old.
There’s a red carpet leading from the Red Sox dugout to the field. The photographers are ready to go and the fans are settling into their seats. There are freshly painted “Fenway 100” logos along the baselines.
I’m here in the press box sitting next to the great Bob Ryan. Dan Shaughnessy, Nick Cafardo, Michael Whitmer, Michael Vega and Chad Finn are on hand, too. Throw in the photographers and we have our own starting nine and a few extras for the bench.
Hang out here all afternoon for updates. We’ll keep you posted.