Josh Beckett bounces back as Red Sox crush Rays 12-2

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Josh Beckett struck out just one batter Friday, but he went eight innings and limited the Rays to one run as part of a 12-2 Red Sox victory in the home opener at Fenway Park.

Beckett, at 94 pitches, appeared set to go for the complete game before the Red Sox scored eight times off Joel Peralta and Josh Lueke in a long bottom of the eighth inning. That caused manager Bobby Valentine to reverse course and bring in Mark Melancon for the ninth.

Beckett wasn’t blowing the Rays away today, but he got some swings and misses early on and he was able to make quick work of what has been a weak bottom half of the order for Tampa Bay. Apart from the red-hot Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria (currently hitting back-to-back in the second and third spots), no one in the Rays lineup entered the day with an average over .250.

Beckett faced questions about his thumb injury all week  after giving up five homers Saturday to the Tigers in his season debut. Those aren’t likely to go away with his velocity still down a bit. However, if he shows fastball command and his good curve (which has always tended to come and go), he can still be effective for the Red Sox while throwing 89-91 mph.

Brian Dozier’s 24-game hitting streak ends

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Twins second baseman Brian Dozier entered Tuesday night’s action having hit safely in all 17 games this season and in 24 games consecutively dating back to last season. Sadly for him and for the Twins, that streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance against the Yankees.

Dozier grounded out in the first inning, flied out in the third, grounded out in the sixth, and grounded out again in the eighth.

Despite his streak ending, Dozier still has good numbers on the year. He’s hitting .291/.356/.494 with four home runs, 10 RBI, and 15 runs scored in 87 plate appearances.