Yankees crack five homers off Buchholz in 6-2 win over Red Sox

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Yankees crack five homers off Buchholz in 6-2 win over Red Sox

BOSTON -- Friday was the 100th anniversary of the first game at Fenway Park, and the Red Sox went overboard in marking the occasion. They dressed the team in 1912 throwback uniforms, with no numbers on the backs. They brought back 209 former players, managers and coaches, culled from seven decades, to help celebrate.

Too bad they forget about the deadened balls from 1912. Clay Buchholz could have used them.

Stuck instead with the lively baseballs of the modern era, Buchholz became the second Red Sox pitcher in less than two weeks to surrender five home runs in a game. (Josh Beckett had achieved what was thought to be a once-in-a-season feat in the second game of the year in Detroit.) The homers took the air out of the party, as the Yankees cruised to a 6-2 victory that dropped the modern Sox' record to a depressing 4-9.

The first New York run came not via the long ball, but via a gift. Dustin Pedroia dropped leadoff hitter Derek Jeter's windblown pop up into short right field, allowing the Yankee shortstop to reach first. He went to second on a wild pitch and rode home on a single by Alex Rodriguez.

Then came the barrage.

Homers from Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez in the second, to up the lead to 3-0.

A homer from Chavez in the fourth that made it 4-1.

A homer from Rodriguez in the fifth that made it 5-1.

A homer from Russell Martin in the sixth that made it 6-2.

Luckily for Buchholz and the Sox, they were all solo blasts. But it didn't matter much, as the Yankee pitching tandem of Ivan Nova, Cory Wade, David Robertson, Cody Eppley and Mariano Rivera -- despite scattering 10 hits -- allowed only two Boston runs.

The Sox got their first run from a home run of their own, by David Ortiz leading off the second. The other came on doubles by Cody Ross and Mike Aviles in the fifth.

Star of the Game: Eric Chavez
Back-to-back home runs to center field, in the second and fourth innings, highlighted the Yanks' power barrage.

Honorable Mention: David Ortiz
The one bright spot in this so-far dismal Red Sox season, and a pleasant change from his slow starts of the last several years. His 2-for-4 performance lifted his average to .392, and he now has 2 homers and 10 RBI . . . putting him on pace for 27 HRs and 135 RBI in 2012.

Today's Goat: Clay Buchholz
Do you really need to ask why?

Turning Point(s)
The Red Sox had their chances to get back in the game, and their best shots came in back-to-back innings. In the second, after Ortiz' homer cut the Yankee lead to 3-1, Kevin Youkilis doubled to right. He got to third on an infield grounder by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but died there as Ross struck out and Jason Repko grounded out. Then, in the third with the score still 3-1, they got a one-out double from Ryan Sweeney. He didn't score, either; Pedroia flied out and Adrian Gonzalez struck out. It was, as the late, great Ned Martin would say, mostly silent movies after that.

Stat of the Day: 11-29
From the great Ken Tremendous: The Sox have lost 29 of their last 40 games dating back to last September. That's a 45-117 pace over 162 games.

Quote of the Day
"We want Tito! We want Tito!" -- the Fenway center-field denizens in the ninth inning.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."