Pedroia and Youkilis return to game action


Pedroia and Youkilis return to game action

By SeanMcAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Thanks to injuries last season, Kevin Youkilis (thumb) hadn't been in a game since last Aug. 2 and Dustin Pedroia (broken foot) played just twice after last June 25.

Saturday, both were back in action, and even though the opponent was Boston College, were happy to be in a competitive situation again.

"It's just nice to see both of them on the field,'' said Terry Francona, "running around and looking healthy.''

Youkilis made an immediate impact in the Sox' 6-0 win, making a diving, backhand stop on the second hitter of the game, then adding a three-run, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the inning.

"I think just making it through the game and feeling good (was my goal),'' said Youkils. "Probably the worst thing was I think I peaked too early. But it was good to get back out there.''

Youkilis is returning to third base after spending most of the last five seasons playing first and it didn't take long for him to get tested.

"I'd rather have those than the ones that are right at you,'' said Youkilis, "where you have more time and they can eat you up. But it was great to make a play like that and get it out of the way. But there are going to be more plays down the road and balls I'm going to boot around. That's part of being a third baseman.''

Pedroia was 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.

In the second, the second baseman hit a grounder over the mound that shortstop Anthony Melchionda snared, running toward second, then fired to first to nab Pedroia at first.

"It felt good,'' said Pedroia of his foot. "I haven't done that in a long time. It felt fine. We'll see how it feels (Sunday).''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss


Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?