Red Sox win first, beating Yankees in home opener

191542.jpg

Red Sox win first, beating Yankees in home opener

ByArtMartone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Forsix games, they were the gang that couldn't shoot straight. On therare occasions when they hit, they couldn't pitch. When they pitched,they couldn't hit. Bad defense? Boneheaded plays? Check, andcheck.

Then they came home. And everythingchanged.

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

They gotfour shutout relief innings from Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, DanielBard and Jonathan Papelbon. After going 1-for-14 with runners inscoring position on Wednesday and Thursday in Cleveland, they went6-for-9 on Friday . . . and most of the damage came with two outs.Dustin Pedroia led the 12-hit attack with a home run and two singles,and Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchiaalso had multihit games.

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

Player of the Game: DustinPedroia

He'd been hard on himself for letting the team down inclutch situations recently, but that came to an end Friday. He hit afirst-inning home run, cutting the Yankee lead to 2-1. He delivered atwo-out, two-run single in the second, giving the Sox a 4-3 lead (andlater scored himself, sliding home at right on a single by AdrianGonzalez). And he added a third hit, another single, in the eighthinning.

His 3-for-5 performance lifted his averagefrom .227 to .296, and it helped his team lift its winning percentagefrom .000 to .143. Not much . . . but you have to startsomewhere.

Honorable mention: Jonathan Papelbon, AlfredoAceves, Bobby Jenks and DanielBard

Papelbon (left) finally got a savesituation, seven games into the season, and he ran with it: He struckout Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter and got Mark Teixeira on a lazy flyto center to end it.

But he wouldn't have had theopportunity were it not for his 'pen mates. Aceves came on in the sixthin relief of John Lackey with a 7-6 lead and held the Yanks scoreless(with the help of a double play). Jenks walked the leadoff hitter inthe seventh but got the next three batters. And Bard was theGood Bard, recording a 1-2-3 eighth.

Just like theydrew it up. Finally.

The goat: PhilHughes

The Yankee starterwas going up against a team that entered the game with a .181 battingaverage, 10 extra-base hits in 193 at-bats, and was averaging2.6 runs pergame. Against him, the Red Sox hit .636 (7-for-11) with six singles anda home run, and scored seven runs in two innings . . . which comes outto a 28-run-per-game pace. Which means that Hughes' 11.25 ERA went upduring the course of his brief -- but, for Boston, fruitful --appearance.

The turning point

The Red Soxhad gone 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position over their last twogames in Cleveland, and it looked like it would be more of the samewhen Carl Crawford -- batting in the second inning with runners atfirst and second, one out, and the Sox trailing, 3-2 -- grounded out toshortstop. That moved runners to second and third, but it also movedthe Yankees to within one out of getting out of the inning with thelead.

Instead, the Sox gotfour straight men on base -- via three hits and a walk -- and scoredfour runs. It started with Dustin Pedroia's two-runsingle, and it was followed by an RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez, awalk to Kevin Youkilis, and an RBI single from David Ortiz (right).

The 6-3 lead didn't hold, thanks to John Lackey(who allowed single runs in each of the next three innings to allow theYankees to tie the score), but the Boston offense had come alive.Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-out RBI double in the fifth put the Soxahead to stay, and J.D. Drew delivered a pair of insurance runs in theeighth with a two-run single.

Stat of the Day: 6-for-9

Thatwas the Red Sox' average with runners in scoring position Friday, aftergoing 1-for-14 with RISP on Wednesday and Thursday and Cleveland.Dustin Pedroia had one of the biggest of the six hits, a two-run singlein the second (right) that gave the Sox a 4-3lead.

What's more, the Sox went 4-for-6 with RISPand two out, as five of their nine runs Friday were scored with twoout.

Quote of the day

"I never sawa team so happy to be 1-6.'' -- Terry Francona

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."