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BOS@HOU: Beckett throws five scoreless frames

These aren't your world champion to-be Red Sox.

Through three games, a Boston team picked by most to win it all in 2011 has won none. The Rangers, who did win the American League pennant last season, swept them in a three-game set to start the season.

Cue panic?

"We're not very happy with the series. That's an understatement," Sox manager Terry Francona said after Sunday's 5-1 loss. "I think there's a difference between being aggravated at a series as opposed to sitting around and panic enters. It would have been a lot more fun going on the flight with a win and feeling good about yourself."

The Red Sox haven't dropped four in a row to start a season since they started the 1996 campaign 0-5. If they're going to turn it around soon, they'll have to do it on the road. After an off-day for both, the Red Sox and Indians start a three-game series in Cleveland.

The Red Sox don't return to Fenway Park for their home opener until the end of the week, when -- surprise! -- the Yankees come to town.

The Indians didn't start off in a much better way, but they do have one win, a win they pulled out comfortably on Sunday, 7-1, over the White Sox. Cleveland avoided its own three-game sweep.

"It's great that we had a lead at least for once in the series," said Orlando Cabrera, whose two-run homer in the sixth Sunday gave the Indians the lead. "I think we have a great momentum turn going into Tuesday against Boston. Guys are really pumped up. They know we can do some stuff on the field."

Josh Beckett, potentially still as strong a stopper as any, has the ball for the Red Sox opposite Cleveland's Josh Tomlin. Tuesday is Beckett's first chance to show he's healthy and at full strength after posting a disappointing career-high 5.78 ERA in 2010.

Tomlin went seven innings in his only career outing against the Red Sox, allowing four runs on four hits while striking out five.

The key for Boston could be limiting the long ball. Red Sox pitchers have allowed 11 home runs in their first three games, the most for any Sox team since 1919, and that's as far back as those records go. One can safely assume it's an all-time Sox record, then, too.

"We didn't play a very good series," Francona said. "We got outplayed all the way around. They hit better than us, they pitched better than us. Now we have to go regroup and try to get us a win so we feel better about ourselves."

Red Sox: Crawford responds in seven-hole
• Dropped to the No. 7 spot in the lineup after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his first two games with the Red Sox, left fielder Carl Crawford responded Sunday with a 2-for-4 performance. He did strike out again, but also tallied his first RBI.

"Looking at him, it's obvious he's trying too hard," Francona said before the game. "As soon as he gets on base and can start causing some havoc, he'll loosen up and the real Carl will come out."

• Darnell McDonald started in right field on Sunday, the second time in three games a player other than J.D. Drew was in the starting lineup. Mike Cameron was penciled in on Opening Day. Both times Drew sat, the starting pitcher was a southpaw.

"[McDonald] had a real good at-bat [Saturday]," Francona said. "Actually, so did J.D. But Mac matches up good against [Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison], and then we've got J.D. sitting over there if we get into the bullpen."

Indians: Triple the fun
• In Carlos Santana's debut at first base Sunday, he helped start a triple play in the fourth inning against the White Sox. It was the second triple play turned by Cleveland in the past four years at Progressive Field.

• Rehabbing Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore (left knee surgery) is scheduled to head to Akron, Ohio, to take part in an exhibition game between Cleveland affiliates Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus on Monday. He's to play in another exhibition game on Wednesday before potentially beginning an official Minor League rehab stint. Sizemore is hoping to return from the disabled list within a couple weeks.

Worth noting
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz took over the all-time RBI lead at the position on Saturday, when he drove in three. That gave him 1,004 RBIs, one more than former Mariners great Edgar Martinez.

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