Ross, Cook power Red Sox past Braves in Youkilis' send-off, 9-4


Ross, Cook power Red Sox past Braves in Youkilis' send-off, 9-4

BOSTON Cody Ross hit two home runs and knocked in five, and Aaron Cook returned from the disabled list to earn his first win of the season as the Sox beat the Braves 9-4 Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Ross three-run home run into the Monster seats, scoring Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks, keyed a four-run fourth inning when Adrian Gonzalez, the next batter, followed with his sixth home run of the season. It was the third time the Sox hit back-to-back home runs this season, and the first time since May 19.

Ross, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, followed his first homer with a two-run shot in fifth, scoring Daniel Nava. His five RBI match the second-highest total of his career, and the most since he had five on June 2, 2009.

The largest cheers of the day, however, were saved for Kevin Youkilis. When he took the batters' box for his first at-bat in the second inning, he was given a standing ovation with fans realizing that Sunday might be Youkilis' last game as a member of the Red Sox.

In the seventh inning, Youkilis' last at-bat resulted in a surreal Fenway Park moment.

With two outs and Gonzalez on first, Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI triple to right-center. After he reached third base, manager Bobby Valentine lifted him for pinch-runner Nick Punto. The pair exchanged a hug on the field, and as Youkilis went to the dugout he saluted the Fenway crowd, exchanged more hugs in the dugout, and came out for a curtain call.

Though Youkilis had not yet been officially dealt by the Red Sox, with trade rumors hovering over Youkilis in recent weeks, Boston used the opportunity to say goodbye.

Cook went five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits, with no walks and no strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches, 48 for strikes.

Mike Minor took the loss for the Braves, falling to 3-6. He went 4 23 innings, giving up seven runs, four earned on six hits, three walks, four strikeouts and three home runs.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss


Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?