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Happy Homecoming For Red Sox

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Darnell McDonald (Elsa/Getty Images News)

Darnell McDonald (Elsa/Getty Images News)

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By HOWARD ULMAN,  AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ Josh Beckett pitched eight solid innings Friday
and the Boston Red Sox rebounded from a rough road trip by winning
their eighth straight home opener, 12-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Boston won despite losing center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury because
of an injured right shoulder. He was hurt trying to break up a
double play in the fourth when Rays shortstop Reid Brignac landed
on Ellsbury’s right arm.

Ellsbury, the runner-up in the voting for AL MVP last year,
stayed on the ground while a trainer tended to him. Ellsbury walked
off the field while keeping his right arm bent at the elbow, and
there was no immediate report on the extent of his injury.

Bobby Valentine won his first home game as Boston’s manager,
Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz drove in three runs and Adrian
Gonzalez and Kelly Shoppach had three hits. Boston broke away with
an eight-run eighth.

The Red Sox began their 101st season at Fenway Park, and their
winning streak in home openers is the longest current string in the
majors. Boston entered the game with a 1-5 record that included a
10-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers in which Beckett (1-1) allowed five
homers.

But Beckett limited the Rays to five hits and one walk. He
struck out just one, getting Carlos Pena in the eighth and
extending his streak to 281 games with at least one strikeout since
the start of his career. Only Dwight Gooden has a longer streak to
begin his career, 349 games from 1984 to 1997.

Beckett improved to 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA in five home openers for
them.

David Price (1-1) lasted just three innings for Tampa Bay and
left after allowing three runs in the third. The Red Sox put the
game away in the eighth when the first 10 batters reached base.

The Rays went ahead 1-0 with no outs in the second on a single
by Ben Zobrist and a double by Jeff Keppinger. That was Tampa Bay’s
last hit until Matt Joyce singled with two outs in the sixth. Jose
Molina added a two-out single in the seventh before Beckett retired
his last four batters.

Zobrist also hit his first homer of the year, a solo shot in the
ninth.

The Red Sox took the lead for good in the third when they loaded
the bases on a walk to Shoppach, a double by Ellsbury and a walk to
Dustin Pedroia. Gonzalez singled in a run, Youkilis hit a sacrifice
fly and Ortiz added an RBI single.

The RBIs by Gonzalez and Youkilis were the first in their
careers against Price.

Boston made it 4-1 in the fourth off Burke Badenhop on a double
by Shoppach and a single by Ellsbury. On the next play, Pedroia
grounded to Brignac, who stepped on second and fired to first to
complete the double play.

Boston broke the game open in the eighth with eight hits,
including a two-run double by Shoppach and two-run singles by
Youkilis and Ryan Sweeney.

NOTES: On the last day of the 2011 regular season, the Rays
edged Boston for the AL wild-card spot when they rallied to beat
the Yankees minutes after the Red Sox lost to the Baltimore
Orioles. … Shoppach got the first stolen base of his career in
the sixth. … Price is 10-2 in opposing AL East parks. … Tampa
Bay is 1-3 after starting the season with a three-game sweep of the
New York Yankees. …Pedroia’s streak of homers in his last three
home openers came to an end.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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