By Sean McAdam
NEW YORK -- For all their struggles in the first six weeks of the season, the Red Sox don't seem to have any trouble beating the New York Yankees.
The Sox held off the Yanks 5-4 Friday night for their third win in four tries this year. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Boston.
Clay Buchholz turned in his best start of the season, limiting the Yankees to just two runs in seven innings. Buchholz fanned seven and walked just one to earn his second career win against New York.
The Yankees scratched together a run in the eighth off Daniel Bard and had two runners in scoring position with two outs. But Bard got Jorge Posada on an inning-ending groundout to second.
Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the ninth, but picked up his sixth save.
Adrian Gonzalez knocked in two runs -- one with a solo homer into the upper deck in right, another on a sacrifice fly -- upping his league-leading RBI total to 31.
Kevin Youkilis provided a huge opposite-field homer to right in the seventh. Youkilis' homer came off Joba Chamberlain, against whom Youkilis has had a number of confrontations.
The only runs off Buchholz came in the fifth when catcher Russell Martin belted a two-run homer to left-center.
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.