Boston Red Sox defeat Oakland Athletics, 5-2

Josh Beckett took the ball on Opening Day for the first time in a Red Sox uniform this spring, and that meant something to him.

Beckett was 25 when he pitched his first game with the Red Sox. He is 29 now, a leader whom the other pitchers in the rotation watch and follow. “He enjoys that responsibility,’’ Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Part of that responsibility includes halting losing streaks before they begin, and that Beckett has mastered. Beckett has started nine...