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
June 24, 2012, 8:55 pm
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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.