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Red Sox 5, Rays 3

Red Sox 5, Rays 3
BOSTON (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays got an early reminder that reaching the playoffs for a second straight time will be at least as hard as the first.

Josh Beckett struck out 10 in seven innings of two-hit ball to lead the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a makeup of their rained-out opener and a rematch of the AL championship series that the Rays won to reach the franchise's first World Series.

"We've got to prove it again this year," Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro said.

AL MVP Dustin Pedroia homered on the second pitch he saw this season, and Jason Varitek also homered to help Boston get off to a fast start against the team that edged it by two games for the AL East title last year. For Beckett, who was recovering from a side strain when he faced the Rays in the playoffs, it was a chance to show the form that made him a 20-game winner and Cy Young contender in 2007.

"He did not make it easy for us," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose team pounded Beckett for eight runs in Game 2 of the ALCS. "On an opening day, he looked like his old self."

James Shields gave up five runs on nine hits and three walks, striking out two in 5 1-3 innings. Tampa Bay scored one run off Beckett and two in the eighth off Hideki Okajima before Justin Masterson pitched out of a jam and Jonathan Papelbon got three outs for the save.

Beckett allowed a third-inning single to Akinori Iwamura and Carl Crawford's sixth-inning double to go with three walks. He struck out Gabe Gross on a 93 mph fastball to end the seventh and finish his second career opening day start, and first with the Red Sox.

"It's something you're always striving for as a pitcher, to get to that point in your career," Beckett said. "It's awesome. This is a pretty cool place to be around on a home opener or opening day, period."

The Red Sox changed the traditional baseline introductions by having their players come out of the stands, high-fiving fans on the way to the field. The Boston Pops took over the national anthem from singer Seal, who had been scheduled for Monday but couldn't stick around.

Newly elected Hall of Famer Jim Rice drove out in a golf cart to with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The Massachusetts Democrat walked to the mound, with Francona and the help of a cane, and bounced a short toss to Rice; (on the second try, he made it on a fly).

"That was an honor," Francona said. "I've been pretty fortunate here to get to do some pretty neat things, and that was one of them."

Athletics 6, Angels 4

At Anaheim, Calif., Jason Giambi, Jack Cust and Ryan Sweeney had three hits apiece to lead a 16-hit attack by Oakland.

The A's bounced back from a 3-0 loss in Monday night's season opener, when they managed only three hits.

Oakland pushed across two runs in the seventh inning against Kevin Jepsen (0-1) to take a 5-3 lead. Eric Chavez had a run-scoring fielder's choice and Cust picked up his second RBI of the game with a broken-bat bloop single to center field. Giambi added an RBI double in the eighth.

Brad Ziegler gave up Bobby Abreu's RBI single in the ninth inning before striking out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter to earn his first save.

Michael Wuertz (0-1) pitched a scoreless sixth inning to get the win.

White Sox 4, Royals 2

At Chicago, Jim Thome hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, rallying the White Sox past Kansas City in a season opener delayed a day because of bad weather.

The White Sox trailed 2-1 when Thome hit his 542nd career home run, connecting with two outs off Royals newcomer Kyle Farnsworth (0-1).

Alex Gordon homered for the visiting Royals.

Octavio Dotel (1-0) struck out the side in the eighth after Clayton Richard threw two scoreless innings. Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4

At Toronto, Rod Barajas hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Blue Jays rallied to beat Detroit.

The Blue Jays trailed 3-0 after seven before Scott Rolen hit a solo homer and Aaron Hill connected for a go-ahead, three-run drive in the eighth.

B.J. Ryan (1-0) got the win despite allowing a tying homer to Brandon Inge in the ninth.

Adam Lind got the winning rally started with a one-out walk against Brandon Lyon (0-1). Pinch-runner Jose Bautista went to third on Rolen's single to right and Lyle Overbay was walked intentionally to load the bases for Barajas, who lofted a fly ball into center field. Bautista scored without a throw from Curtis Granderson.

Twins 6, Mariners 5

At Minneapolis, Alexi Casilla's two-run single capped Minnesota's three-run rally with two outs in the ninth inning.

Brought in to protect a 5-3 lead, Seattle closer Brandon Morrow (0-1) retired his first two batters before walking the bases loaded. Miguel Batista relieved and Denard Span chopped an RBI infield single to third that made it 5-4. Casilla lined the next pitch from Batista up the middle, scoring Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher.

Luis Ayala (1-0) allowed a run in the top of the ninth but earned his first win with the Twins.

Erik Bedard, making his first start for the Mariners since July 4, allowed three runs over five innings and struck out eight. Bedard missed the second half of last season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 8, 2009

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