Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett (19) throws out a St. Louis Cardinals base runner at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox enjoyed an easy spring training victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday afternoon in JetBlue Park thanks to a shutout performance from the Boston pitching staff and eight big runs from a full lineup.
Josh Beckett has had no problem with the Rays of late. Having dominated them for 23 innings last year, giving up just two earned runs in three starts, Beckett kept his momentum going with five more shutout innings, giving up just one hit in the process.
Beckett may have lasted longer, but was made to throw 84 pitches in those five innings thanks to three walks drawn by the Rays. Allowing all four of his baserunners in the second and third innings, Beckett nevertheless avoided harm by striking out three of the other batters he faced in those innings. He would end the day with five strikeouts to his name. Scott Atchison, Franklin Morales, and Mark Melancon would provide four scoreless innings in relief to complete the shutout.
Meanwhile, a Boston lineup that featured all the likely starters for Opening Day was taking advantage of a Tampa Bay bullpen tasked with pitching all nine innings. Fernando Rodney did his part in the first, but the Sox quickly got on the board against Joel Peralta in the second when Cody Ross belted another ball all the way out to left, bringing Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz in with him to make it 3-0.
Dustin Pedroia, who reached base three times, would add to the tally in the sixth with a triple that scored Jacoby Ellsbury, but the Sox would really put the game away in the seventh. Despite a line drive double play erasing one of the two leadoff baserunners Boston managed, Brandon Gomes would lose all control, walking three straight batters to load the bases and bring in a run. With his relief giving a run away on a wild pitch and two more on a single, the Sox finished the night with eight runs of their own.