Amid Changes, Stalwarts Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia Lead Red Sox on Opening Night BOSTON — The offseason in Boston was a loud one. Not only did the Red Sox make a handful of major moves, but every one of them seemed to incite great debate.

Noise was made surrounding the supposed move to a "run-prevention" philosophy, a term which suddenly became fashionable for those hoping to be in the know when it came to baseball matters.

A defensive shift in the outfield was up for debate. There was talk aplenty about the situation at third base, where Mike Lowell was ousted in favor of Adrian Beltre, and at catcher, where Jason Varitek was supplanted by Victor Martinez and forced to enter his first season as a backup.

Almost nobody talked about the guys who have the ability to make all of those issues obsolete. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis have almost been operating under the radar, if that is possible for two All-Stars widely considered the heart and soul of the team.

In Sunday night's opener against the New York Yankees, when run prevention went out the window and nobody worried about anybody playing out of position, the two were impossible to miss.

Pedroia and Youkilis combined for four extra-base hits, five RBIs and five runs scored to key a 9-7 come-from-behind win against the Yankees.

"That was a fun game," Pedroia said. "We just kept battling and got CC [Sabathia] out of the game. It was one of those grinder games, a nice win for us."

Most of that grinding came in the late innings, as the right side of the Boston infield was in the mix throughout.

Youkilis, who doubled and scored the Red Sox' first run in the second, tripled into the corner in right to plate Pedroia and Martinez in the sixth, trimming the Boston deficit to 5-4. Adrian Beltre knocked in Youkilis with a single to tie it.

After New York reclaimed the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh, it was Pedroia's turn. With Marco Scutaro on first and one out, Pedroia knocked a Chan Ho Park offering into the Monster seats to tie it 7-7, his second straight Opening Day home run.

Youkilis doubled one batter later to become the first Red Sox player since Carlton Fisk in 1973 to record three extra-base hits on Opening Day, and he scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball with two down.

"He swung the bat so well tonight," Boston manager Terry Francona said of Youkilis, a career .328 hitter in April. "He's swinging the bat really well. When he's driving the ball to right field like [he did on the triple], he's feeling pretty good about himself."

It was Pedroia and Youkilis who barked the loudest when the run-prevention route caused some to question the club's offense.

How fitting that they're the ones making those questions sound a bit misguided, at least one game into the season.

"We all have faith in ourselves. We know we're a good hitting team," Youkilis said. "I don't think we have to prove that to anyone but ourselves."