Red Sox win first, beating Yankees in home opener

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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

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

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Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

QUOTES:

"He threw all four pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, (he's shown) the ability to make adjustments from pitch-to-pitch. If he gets out of whack or misses with a pitch, he's right back in the strike zone.'' - John Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"You look back at the first month and I think we've gained a lot of trust in each other up and down the lineup. That to me is the strongest attribute right now on this team.'' - Farrell on the Red Sox after one month of play.

"Pretty similar. I'm getting a lot of timely hits, and it's helping the team.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr., asked if this last week is similar to the hot streak he enjoyed last August.

"I'm comfortable. I'm in a good place, mentally and physically. I worked really hard to get where I am now and I'm going to continue to work.'' – Bradley on his hot streak.

"Much better fastball command. I've been able to execute my sinker better and that's allowed me to get ahead of hitters and if I do fall behind, I've been able to come back.'' - Porcello on cutting his walk rate by more than half compared to this point a year ago.

NOTES:

* The shutout at Fenway was the first for the Red Sox against the Yankees since May 14, 2011.

* The eight-run margin was the biggest margin in a Red Sox shutout over the Yankees since Sept. 6, 2003 when they won 11-0 in New York.

* The four triples in April for Jackie Bradley Jr. are the most for a Red Sox hitter in that month since Jose Offerman in 1999.

* In his last nine games against the Yankees, Bradley is 14-for-31 (.452) with nine extra-base hits.

* Rick Porcello's 5-0 start to the season is the best run for a Red Sox starter since Josh Beckett was 7-0 in 2007.

* The Yankees have failed to homer in seven games this season; they're 0-7 in those games.

STARS:

1) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley had three extra-base hits (two triples and a double) for eight total bases, and knocked in three runs.

2) Rick Porcello

The Red Sox starter tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only two baserunners into scoring position while issuing just one walk.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had a double in the second and a single in the sixth, good for three RBI, a season high for him.

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

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First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

* Rick Porcello doesn't seem like a weak link in the rotation now.

Porcello blanked the Yankees for seven innings and is now 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA for the season. For the fourth time in five outings, he pitched into the seventh innings.

The Yankees threatened only once - in the fifth, when they had runners at the corners and two out. But Porcello got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out, stranding two and was never in trouble again.

Porcello's command is improved over a year ago. In his first five starts last year, covering 30 innings, he walked 10. This year, he's pitched 32 2/3 innings and issued just five walks.

* Jackie Bradley is swinging it like he did last August.

Bradley went on an extra-base tear late last summer, rocketing doubles, triples and homers for a stretch of a few weeks that was completely unexpected.

The last week has been like that stretch, with seven extra-base hits in the last seven games. He knocked in the first run of the night with a double to left, then delivered another in the sixth with a triple to the triangle and two more in the seventh with a triple into the right field corner.

In the two games against the Yankees, he's got four extra-base hits, a walk and five RBI.

* David Ortiz has started 20 games this season. He's knocked in 19 runs.

Ortiz added his second homer in as many nights, to go along with a single and walk.

It's doubtful that he's going to keep up his RBI-per-game pace, but when he's locked in the way he is now, he impacts virtually the entire lineup from the cleanup position.

* If you think Pablo Sandoval was bad, maybe you haven't been watching Chase Headley.

The Yankee third baseman was a free agent the same winter that Sandoval was and some argued that he would have been a better fit for the Sox than was Panda.

But 22 games into the 2016 season, Headley has yet to collect a single base hit and has an OPS of .405. He's hitting .153 and has virtually no range to speak of at third base.

* A lot has changed for Junichi Tazawa.

A year ago, Tazawa was overworked in the first half of the season. On Saturday night, he got an inning of work in the ninth in a blowout game because he hadn't pitched since last Sunday -- thanks to strong starting efforts from the rotation over the past two series.