Red Sox beat Yankees, 9-6, for first win of 2011

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Red Sox beat Yankees, 9-6, for first win of 2011

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- For six games, they were they gang that couldn't shoot straight. On the rare occasions when they hit, they couldn't pitch. When they pitched, they couldn't hit. Bad defense? Boneheaded plays? Check, and check.

Then they came home. And everything changed.

Oh, they still had some pitching problems -- John Lackey's six-runs-allowed-in-five-innings performance was a blast from the (recent) past -- but the Red Sox had little else to complain about in Friday's 9-6 victory over the Yankees in the Fenway Park opener.

They got four shutout relief innings from Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon. After going 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and Thursday in Cleveland, they went 6-for-9 on Friday . . . and most of the damage came with two outs. Dustin Pedroia led the 12-hit attach with a home run and two singles, and Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also had multihit games.

And when it was over, they were off the schneid. The Sox beat out the Rays in the race to avoid being baseball's last winless team.

The Sox' fortunes turned in the bottom of the second inning. The Yankees were holding a 3-2 lead when Pedroia came to bat with one run in, runners at second and third, and two out. It's the sort of situation the Sox had been squandering through the first six games, but Pedroia ripped a single to center, driving in Jacoby Ellsbury and Marco Scutaro and giving Boston a 4-3 lead.

It didn't stop there. They added two tack-on runs on RBI singles from Gonzalez and Ortiz, making it 6-3.

Lackey gave the lead back one run at a time, with the Yankees finally tying it on a home run by Alex Rodriguez in the fifth inning. But a two-out, RBI double in the bottom of the inning by Jarrod Saltalamacchia put the Sox ahead to stay, and Drew's two-run single in the eighth gave them breathing room.

Aceves, Jenks, Bard and Papelbon combined for four innings of one-hit, scoreless relief, with two walks and five strikeouts.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

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.