On a frigid New York night more suited to bobsledding than baseball, the Boston Red Sox strung together 13 hits, rode a solid start from Clay Buchholz and scored a 7-4 win in game two of the young season over the New York Yankees. With temperatures in the low 40s, winds at 20-mph-plus, Boston scored early and often with a balanced attack that saw every starter get at least one hit. Boston jumped out to a first inning lead, added to it in the second, and built a commanding 7-1 lead over the lackluster Yanks before New York crawled back into the game in the 8th inning courtesy of a single and three run homer surrendered by Alfredo (North Korean Meltdown) Aceves). Joel Hanrahan closed the door in the ninth to finish off the Yanks, sending starter Buccholz to his first win of the season on a strong outing that featured a line of: 7 innings, 6 hits, one run, 2 walks and 94 pitches. The second straight win over the Yanks marked the first time since 1999 the Red Sox opened the season with two straight wins. Hanrahan gave up a single, then sandwiched a ground out around a strike out and fly out to nail his first save as a Red Sox. Offensively, the Red Sox, as in game one, got offensive support up and down the lineup, never bombing away for the big three-run homer inning of past seasons, but persistently nibbling Yankee pitching to death like a rabid duck, stringing walks, errors, singles and doubles around aggressive base running and hit batsmen to chase starter Kuroda from the mound in the second with an injured hand incurred on a deflected line drive, then adding insurance runs late in the game. After taking the collar in game 1, Mike Napoli collected his first hit and first rbi as a Red Sox and rookie Jackie Bradley Jr., likewise collected his first hit as a major league player, going 1-3 on the night with 2 runs scored. Buchholz was economical on a chilly night, tossing 94 pitches and surrendering only a solo homer to Travis Hofman in the 4th. Andrew Miller had another “interesting” relief outing, hitting one batter before securing a fly out in the 8th, then yielding to Aceves, making his first relief appearance following a controversy-marred spring training. With a runner on, Aceves gave up a single before tossing a gopher ball to the Yankees’ newly acquired Vernon Wells, who promptly deposited it for a three-run homer. Hanrahan gave up a single in the ninth before quieting any Yankee hopes of a late-game rally. Bradley and Nava were both hit by Yankees pitchers prior to the 7th inning while Miller retaliated against the Yankees in the 8th. Boston goes for the sweep on Thursday, sending newly signed Ryan Dempster to the mound for his first start to face Yankee veteran Andy Pettite. The only thing more noticable in this game than Boston’s enthusiasm and aggressiveness, was the paltry turnout on a cold night. The game began with the Yankees playing at home before a half-empty stadium, and all but a frigid and faithful few hung around past the middle innings. ESPN2, which carried the game nationally, made mention of New York Media headlines which suggest just one game into the season, New Yorkers are labeling this year’s version of the Pin Stripe gang as underwhelming and nothing short of a red hot mess. Two games does not a season make for the Red Sox, but in short order, they have illustrated some dramatic differences over the team that took the field last April for the Beantown faithful. They can run, hit in a timely fashion, get support from up and down the batting order, have secured two promising starts from the 1-2 punch in the rotation, and outside of Aceves, have had shut down bullpen help so far. Farrell showed great confidence by inserting Nava into the number two slot as DH, sliding Victorino lower in the order. It can only be positively entertaining to think of a lineup that will soon include the bat of Big Papi, scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment with running and hitting on Monday. If all goes well, the 2013 Bosox roster should be complete by tax filing day.
- RED SOX TAKE GAME 2 – Alone at Top of AL EAST (baseballtrashtalkin.org)
- Red Sox-Yankees Live: Boston Aims to Make It Two in a Row Behind Clay Buchholz (nesn.com)