Red Sox Wrap: Sox Fend Off Pirates, Hang On For 5-3 Opening Day Win

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BOSTON — If Monday was any indication, it should be an eventful season for the 2017 Red Sox.

Boston’s Opening Day matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates had a little bit of everything: A solid outing from right-hander Rick Porcello, an offensive eruption featuring an Andrew Benintendi three-run home run and a rough patch for the bullpen.

But the Red Sox emerged on top, squeezing out a 5-3 win at sunny Fenway Park to start their 2017 campaign on the right foot.

Here’s how this one went down.

GAME IN A WORD
Celebration.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski started the party early at Fenway, and while there were a few bumps along the way, there was plenty for the Boston faithful to cheer about during the Red Sox’s third consecutive Opening Day victory.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Craig Kimbrel closed the door in the ninth inning for his first save of 2017.

The Red Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the bullpen made the final innings anything but comfortable. Kimbrel was able to stem the tide, shutting down any chance of a Pirates comeback.

ON THE BUMP
— Porcello looked like the reigning Cy Young Award winner he is through the first six innings, allowing just four baserunners over that span. But the right-hander ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh, giving up back-to-back hits to David Freese and Francisco Cervelli to start the frame.

Porcello faced just two more batters, exiting with one out in the seventh after allowing an RBI single to Josh Harrison.

Reliever Matt Barnes let both of Porcello’s inherited runners score, leaving the starter with an Opening Day line of 6 1/3 innings, three earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts on 96 pitches.

— As mentioned, Barnes didn’t do Porcello any favors. The right-handed reliever surrendered an RBI single to Jordy Mercer, walked Adam Frazier and retired Starling Marte on a sacrifice fly that was saved by Benintendi’s leaping catch in left field.

Barnes got Andrew McCutchen swinging to prevent further damage and keep the score at 5-3.

— Robby Scott retired the only batter he faced, inducing a Gregory Polanco groundout to start the eighth inning.

— Heath Hembree recorded the final two outs of the eighth without issue.

— Kimbrel allowed a double and hit a batter in the ninth but also struck out two and induced a game-ending pop-up from Marte to pick up the save.

IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox got off to a slow start at the plate, as Hanley Ramirez tallied the only Boston hit through four innings.

— Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled a triple to right field with two outs in the fifth inning, and Pablo Sandoval tallied the Red Sox’s first RBI of 2017 on an infield single to start Boston’s scoring onslaught.

— Dustin Pedroia ripped an RBI single up the middle to score Sandoval from second and put the Sox up 2-0.

— Benintendi then broke things open, crushing a three-run bomb to right field to extend the lead to 5-0. The Red Sox tallied five runs on six hits in the fifth inning alone.

— Xander Bogaerts was heavily involved on the basepaths, recording two hits (2-for-4) and stealing two bases.

— Sandy Leon also recorded a multi-hit effort, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a run scored.

— Mitch Moreland had a rough Red Sox debut, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He was the only Boston player who failed to record a hit.

TWEET OF THE DAY
A Benintendi Opening Day homer means an awesome Twitter overreaction.

UP NEXT
The Red Sox have Tuesday off before Chris Sale takes the mound Wednesday in his Boston debut against the Pirates. First pitch at Fenway Park is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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