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


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

By Art Martone

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

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.