Ross, Cook power Red Sox past Braves in Youkilis' send-off, 9-4

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Ross, Cook power Red Sox past Braves in Youkilis' send-off, 9-4

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.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


 

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.