Any questions about Josh Beckett returning to his 2007 form were answered against the Tampa Bay Rays.

At least for one start.

Beckett hurled 10 strikeouts over seven innings of work en route to a 5-3 win for the Boston Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day. Dustin Pedroia led off his 2009 MVP campaign with a solo-home run in his first at-bat while Jason Varitek also homered off of Rays starter James Shields — 5 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR — in the sixth inning.

The Red Sox combined for 14 strikeouts with Jonathan Papelbon earning his first save of the season — two strikeouts — in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

Star of the Game – Beckett

Leader and ace of the pitching staff, Beckett showed poise and command throughout the start especially in the top of the sixth. 

After a leadoff walk to Akinori Iwamura and double by Carl Crawford, Beckett forced Evan Longoria to pop up to Varitek, struck out Carlos Pena on a blistering 95 mph heater on the upper inside corner and turned Pat Burrell’s bat over grounding out to third to end the frame.

He finished off his outing in the top of the seventh striking out Matt Joyce and Gabe Gross allowing one run his first start this season.

Next Game – Wed 4/08 vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Jon Lester/Scott Kazmir

    Jon Lester is 4-0 against Tampa Bay in his career with a 3.38 ERA (16 ER/42.2 IP). Despite five walks in four innings in his last Spring Training start, Lester only gave up one run on three hits with four strikeouts.