BOSTON -- If Jacoby Ellsbury wanted to make a statement when he returned to Fenway for the first time in the uniform of the New York Yankees, it didn't take him long.
Leading off the game in the top of the first, he smacked a ball high off the center field wall. A fan in the bleachers interfered with it, giving Ellsbury third base, from where he scored on a single by Derek Jeter.
"I was hoping it was going to be a homer,'' said Ellsbury of his first plate appearance. "Missed it by a foot or two. It's nice. You want to do well, you want to go out there and put on a good performance. It was nice to get a triple right off the bat and allow us to get Jeter to score me right from the get-go. That was nice.''
In the bottom of the inning, he made a diving catch to take a hit away from Grady Sizermore. And in the fifth, his two-run double helped salt the game away for the Yankees, who cruised to a 9-3 victory.
"It was nice,'' said Ellsbury of the quick start, "especially I think it was important to get to (Jon) Lester early in the game, get some runners on and get him in the stretch. I thought all game, we did a tremendous job of consistently, each inning, just putting some runners on.''
Predictably, Ellsbury was on the receiving end of a lot of boos after returning in pinstripes. He was booed when he was introduced pre-game as the New York lineup was announced, and then again when he came to the plate in the first inning.
"I thought the fans were great,'' insisted Ellsbury. "I thought the reception was nice. I think there were more emotions before the game, just seeing the grounds crew, everybody. Guys that hold open the door, obviously (former) teammates, trainers, everybody that I've seen for seven to nine years thanking me, congratulating me.''
After the first inning, the Red Sox showed a video tribute on the center field scoreboard, with career highlights edited together, ending with Ellsbury riding in the Duck Boat parade last October. The video was accompanied by Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run.''
Following the tribute, cameras showed Ellsbury on the top step of the visitor's dugout. He waved to fans throughout the ballpark in acknowledgement.
"The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board, unexpected,'' said Ellsbury. "I thought it was very classy for them to do that...(The fans) always treated me well here, they've always cheered me. The tribute was very classy.''
Ellsbury said that during the game, "fans were trying to get me throw balls to them out there. They were cheering. It felt like a home game. You're
going to get a little bit of (harassment) and you expect it, but as a whole, the 35,000 that show up each every night here, I thought they were tremendous.''