Red Sox get the much needed spark lacking in former games, dominate the Rays in a 12-2 blowout

Before I start detailing the game itself, I must mention the 2012 Opening Day celebrations. Tears came to my eyes when Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek appeared from the Green Monster. The two, Mr. Knuckleballer and Mr. Captain, epitomize the Red Sox during my childhood. But of course I can’t forget Nomar Garciaparra, my favorite Red Sox when I was growing up, Pedro Martinez, Trot Nixon, Derek Lowe and I’m sure I’m forget some other amazing Sox players. Both Wake and Tek were the last two Sox on the team from when I first truly decided to dedicate a special place in my heart for just the Boston Red Sox. That being said, I’m extremely happy the organization brought them back for the ceremonial first pitch of the new season. In addition to that, they called out Dwight Evans and recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, Jim Rice, to catch for the two of the classiest men from the Red Sox. Among the rest of the festivities, the Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by James Orent performed the Nation Anthem and “Green Mountain Boys” of Vermont in F-16 jets flew their jets over Fenway Park. Later during the 7th innning stretch, 11-year-old Rosie Newton of St. Albans, Vermont sang God Bless America. Oh and how could anyone forget, Mr. Johnny Pesky made an appearance and yelled those wonderful words we usually long to hear when spring comes, “Play ball!”

Well finally the Sox bats have awakened, providing support for the Commander aka Josh Beckett. Thank goodness, I couldn’t bear to watch another game full of opportunities to only have the Red Sox fall short with runners in scoring position, especially if the bases are loaded.

Beckett gave a stellar performance holding the Rays to only one run over five hits in eight innings and striking out just one Ray. In addition, he only walked one batter.

Former Tampa Bay Ray, Kelly Shoppach had one of the sweetest stolen bases I’ve seen in a while and it’s even sweeter since it was his first stolen base of his career. It was clearly a misjudgment error, but it turned out successful yet alone extremely entertaining. Shoppach had a huge day today. Scoring two RBIs in the bottom of the 8th, Shoppach doubled to left allowing  both McDonald and Ross to scoring, while moving Aviles up to third.

McDonald’s double got the 8th inning rally started. Fourteen batters faced Tampa Bay pitching and managed to score eight runs over seven hits to take a dominating 12-1 lead into the top of the ninth.

Even with 8-1 lead, the speedster Pedroia (which is why I absolutely love this guy) got his first hit of the day by putting in the extra effort to slide safely into first base. Then Gonzalez hit a fly ball to left field for a single that advanced Pedey to 2nd and Sweeney to 3rd. Youkilis also hit single that scored Pedroia and Sweeney and advanced Gonzalez to 3rd. Ortiz lined a double into left field to score Gonzalez and placed Youk on 3rd. McDonald walked, then Ross hit a sacrifice fly to center field to tack on another run. Aviles singled a ground ball to right field, advancing McDonald to 2nd and Ortiz to 3rd. Then the magic ran out with Shoppach popping out to the shortstop on the infield fly rule and next Sweeney flying out to left field.

The top of the ninth, Melancon took the mound, getting a fly out from Matt Joyce, a solo dinger by Ben Zobrist, a ground out by Jeff Keppinger, and for the last out, a strike out on Stephen Vogt.

However, with all this being said, yes I’m elated for the Red Sox win but there’s still a looming cloud over the game with Ellsbury’s injury in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Red Sox have announced that it’s only a right shoulder injury and Ells will be evaluated further. The Rays shortstop, Reid Brignac, fell on Ellsbury’s right shoulder as Ellsbury slid into second, hitting Brignac’s leg, to try to avoid a double play.

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