DETROIT -- In a performance that was equal parts alarming and disappointing, right-hander Josh Beckett was shelled throughout his first start of 2012, and the Red Sox endured a 10-0 thumping at the hands of the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.
After starting last season with an 0-6 mark, Boston has lost the first two games of Bobby Valentine's managerial tenure.
"Well I don't know what a start means," said Valentine. "Is two games a start or is a month a start? I think we can get off to a good start very easily."
Beckett gave up five home runs, tying a career high he set on Aug. 23, 2009. He gave up seven runs, something he didn't do all of last season.
Last season, Beckett didn't allow his fifth home run until June 28.
"We faced a good pitcher today," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "It's a freak thing. That won't happen against a guy like that very often. We really didn't do a whole lot the first game offensively. Today, we did what we do pretty good. We hit the ball in the gaps and we hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Perhaps the outing could be chalked up as just one bad start if not for some concern about Beckett's right thumb, which led him to be checked out by three different doctors last week.
So maybe the only good news from this game for the Red Sox was that Beckett told his manager and media members that the thumb had absolutely nothing to do with his subpar effort.
"The thumb is not an issue," Beckett said.
Beckett and the Red Sox are both confident he can pitch through it, but questions will linger until he has his first good outing.
His next start will come on Friday afternoon in the home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Four of the five homers Beckett allowed came against Detroit's two star sluggers -- Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
"You can't miss down the middle of the plate to these guys," said Beckett. "It's a good team. Good lineup. You can't throw balls down the middle to most big league hitters, but especially these guys."
Over 4 2/3 innings, Beckett gave up seven hits and seven runs, walking one and striking out three. The seven runs allowed were the most in a Beckett start since Sept. 24, 2010, against New York.
"He just didn't have his 'A' game today," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "That just happens. He's been traveling a lot, going to see people. I think his next start he's going to bounce back. He'll do good things for us."
Beckett didn't waste any time making his first mistake of the day, as Cabrera unloaded on a meaty 92-mph fastball and pummeled it over the wall in center for a two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the first.
"All I can say is we swung the bat very well today," said Cabrera. "He made mistakes and we tried to put the ball in play. There's no question he's one of the best pitchers in the game. We don't expect to score like that."
Though it was just a 2-0 deficit after the first, the Red Sox never recovered. Instead, the Tigers would add on loudly. Fielder ripped his first homer as a Tiger, a shot to left to lead off the fourth. Later in that inning, Alex Avila ripped a two-run homer to left, and Boston was down by five.
Things bottomed out for Beckett in the fifth. With two outs and nobody on, Cabrera crushed one to left-center that initially looked to be a ground-rule double. But after utilizing the instant replay system, the umpires correctly ruled that it was Cabrera's second homer of the day.
"And actually it went into our bullpen, so they told me. I was going to tell them. If they didn't get it right, I was going to go up and tell them, but they never asked me," quipped Valentine.
Then it was Fielder's turn again, and he walloped Beckett's 0-2 changeup for a two-run homer to right.
While Beckett's shaky outing took center stage, the Red Sox didn't play well in any facet. Even when Tigers starter Doug Fister was forced out after 3 2/3 innings with an injury to his left side, Boston's bats didn't liven against the Tigers' bullpen.
Four Boston starters -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Youkilis, Cody Ross and Mike Aviles- - have gone hitless in the first two games.
"It's just two games that we haven't been able to put anything together," said designated hitter David Ortiz. "It doesn't mean we're going to stay like that all season. It's going to happen at some point -- hopefully tomorrow."
The Red Sox also made two errors.
"You don't like to be 0-2," said Youkilis, "but we'll bounce back hopefully [Sunday], get a win and roll into Toronto."