Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Rally on CC Sabathia, Yankees Bullpen in Opening-Game Triumph


April 4, 2010

Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Rally on CC Sabathia, Yankees Bullpen in Opening-Game Triumph
Postgame, Red Sox 9-7: Sixteen runs, 24 hits and a Red Sox win in three hours, 46 minutes. Sounds about right for an opener against the Yankees.

Now we get a day off to digest it all. The Sox and Yanks get back at it Tuesday night when Jon Lester opposes A.J. Burnett at 7:10 p.m.

NESN will carry it live, of course, and I'll be offering my thoughts right here so be sure to check in.

Final, Red Sox 9-7: The Yankees had leads of 5-1 and 7-5 before CC Sabathia hit the wall and the bullpen offered little resistance to the Red Sox hitters.

Dustin Pedroia has two hits and three RBIs, Kevin Youkilis rips two doubles and a triple and scores three times and the rough start by Josh Beckett is a distant memory as the Sox score eight times in their last four innings.

We're off to the clubhouse to hear how it feels to be 1-0. Back in a bit.

End 8th, Red Sox 9-7: Dustin Pedroia knocks in an insurance run off a scuffling Joba Chamberlain. It's up to Jonathan Papelbon to finish things off.

Pedroia has a home run, a single, a walk and three RBIs in the last three innings alone.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 8-7: It would be rather fitting that we see Jonathan Papelbon get a save opportunity in the 2010 opener after the way the 2009 finale went for the Sox closer.

That scenario is about to unfold, provided the Sox don't blow this one too wide open in the eighth.

Daniel Bard does his job as the bridge (I know you all hate that term when used to describe anything related to the 2010 Red Sox). The hard-throwing righty works around a one-out walk in the eighth.

Alex Rodriguez, who hit a memorable ninth-inning homer off Papelbon in Fenway a few years ago, will lead it off in the ninth for the Yankees.

The back of Neil Diamond's jacket reads "Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn."

End 7th, Red Sox 8-7: The Sox get their first lead of the game on an unearned run and it's interesting to note a few items on Kevin Youkilis, the man who scored the go-ahead run. 

First, Youkilis is the first Red Sox player to have three extra-base hits on Opening Day since Carlton Fisk did it April 6, 1973, also against the Yankees.

Also, it was just one inning earlier that Youkilis was on third when a ball got away from New York catcher Jorge Posada and Youk nearly dashed for home before retreating safely. This time, on the passed ball by Posada, he didn't hesitate and made it without a throw.

11:12 p.m.: The Yankees' bullpen carousel is in full effect. Joba Chamberlain relieves Damaso Marte after a passed ball gives the Sox the lead, allowing Kevin Youkilis to scamper home from third.

11:05 p.m. Back and forth we go, as we always seem to do when these two teams meet. Dustin Pedroia homers on Opening Day for the second straight year to tie it, a shot that landed in the first row of the Monster seats.

Pedroia is the first Red Sox player to homer in consecutive openers since Trot Nixon in 2001 and 2002. He hit it off Chan Ho Park, who is eventually chased to make way for Damaso Marte with two outs in the seventh.

Mid 7th, Yankees 7-5: Some will debate whether Dustin Pedroia had a play at home on Robinson Cano's grounder in the seventh, but it was the safe play to go to first. With the way Ramon Ramirez and Hideki Okajima were throwing, the Sox needed a sure out somewhere

Jorge Posada proves that theory by knocking an RBI single into center, the 11th Yankees hit of the game, before New York takes its second walk of the frame.

Thank goodness for the old 5-4-3 double play to end what could have been an even uglier inning. 

10:41 p.m.: Ramon Ramirez's 2009 season quietly fell apart in the second half, and his 2010 campaign starts on a bit of a sour note as well.

Ramirez is relieved by Hideki Okajima after a walk and a double to start the seventh.

End 6th, 5-5: The Red Sox' three new starters (Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro) are a combined 3-for-6 with three RBI.

Beltre ties the score by greeting David Robertson with a run-scoring single up the middle.

10:30 p.m. Spring is a season of rituals, one of which is has Kevin Youkilis, as usual, swinging a hot bat.

The Sox first baseman, who owns a .328 lifetime average in April, rips a two-run triple to cut Boston's deficit to 5-4. CC Sabathia is relieved one batter later by David Robertson.

Sabathia threw 104 pitches.

Mid 6th, Yankees 5-2: Derek Jeter lines Ramon Ramirez's first pitch of 2010 to center for a hard single. But the Sox escape any further damage and we'll see if CC Sabathia hits a wall anytime soon. The lefty, who struggled this spring, has thrown 85 pitches through five.

10:11 p.m.: As expected, Scott Schoeneweis faces just two Yankees before getting replaced by Ramon Ramirez.

Aside from throwing one wild pitch, Schoeneweis does his job in his Red Sox debut. And on first glance I didn't misspell his last name, so maybe I'm doing my job OK.

End 5th, Yankees 5-2: CC Sabathia had set down seven straight before J.D. Drew singled to left with two outs in the fifth. Mike Cameron followed with a base hit of his own, also to left. Marco Scutaro then ripped an RBI single to (you guessed it) left field.

Scutaro and Cameron move up when left fielder Brett Gardner's throw back in rolls weakly to Brookline, but they stay right there when Sabathia pulls the string on Jacoby Ellsbury.

Scott Schoeneweis is still out there. It looks like Ramon Ramirez is warming in the pen.

Mid 5th, Yankees 5-1: About three hours before the game started, Josh Beckett was seen relaxing on a couch in the Red Sox clubhouse, having a casual conversation with Scott Schoeneweis. Who knew that the latter would be cleaning up the former's mess in just the fifth inning.

Schoeneweis comes on to strike out Curtis Granderson and strand runners at second and third in the fifth.

The final line on Beckett:

4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

9:46 p.m.: A dismal night for Josh Beckett is over. He gets relieved by Scott Schoeneweis after a 380-foot single by Robinson Cano and a walk to Jorge Posada with two outs in the fifth.

Beckett threw just 54 of 94 pitches for strikes. 

End 4th, Yankees 5-1: Despite a long wait in the dugout, CC Sabathia carves up the 2-3-4 hitters in the Red Sox lineup, although the umps may have helped the Yanks out for the second time.

Dustin Pedroia appeared to be safe when he dove into first on a grounder to Mark Teixeira. Sabathia, who was covering, put his foot down just after Pedroia's hand got in.

Can someone do a legit, empirical study on whether it is better to slide or run through first base on plays like that? Please? I'm torn, despite every announcer saying it is best to stay upright.

Mid 4th, Yankees 5-1: An announcement in the press box during the fourth inning of the opener against the Yankees that no Sox fan would want to hear: "Scott Schoeneweis warming in the Red Sox bullpen." It came amid a miserable fourth inning for Josh Beckett which saw three hits, a walk and a double-steal.

Brett Gardner came home from third on the double steal, with Derek Jeter reaching second on what was a very weak throw by Victor Martinez. When Marco Scutaro intercepted the toss he had no chance to get the streaking Gardner.

Robinson Cano, who is now hitting .348 (16-for-46) lifetime against Beckett, started it all off with a double. Nick Swisher and Gardner both singled to make it 3-1. Jeter knocked in Swisher with an RBI base hit before the Yanks got bold on the base paths. 

Beckett has thrown 74 pitches, just 47 for strikes. The last two hitters in the Yankees lineup — Swisher and Gardner — are 3-for-3 with a walk.

End 3rd, Yankees 2-1: We have our first mini-controversy of the young season as Mike Cameron is doubled off first on a line drive, though it looked like he may have been safe.

No real argument from the Sox. There will be more to yell about than a bang-bang play at first on April 4.

Mid 3rd, Yankees 2-1: Alex Rodriguez grounds into an inning-ending double play, inducing perhaps the biggest cheer of the night to this point.

Among the celebrity sightings thus far is Neil Diamond, who is going to be appearing later, much to the chagrin of many in the press box. Also, we have seen LeBron James, fresh off a dramatic loss to the Celtics and in the park to watch old pal CC Sabathia.

End 2nd, Yankees 2-1: Pretty good debut for Curtis Granderson here. After homering in the top of the second he robs Adrian Beltre of extra bases in the bottom half, although the fly ball is deep enough to score Kevin Youkilis from third.

Youk had doubled to lead things off and moved to third on a grounder to first by David Ortiz.

CC Sabathia gets J.D. Drew looking to end it.

A note on the Jorge Posada-Curtis Granderson back-to-back shots: It marks the first time two Yankees have hit consecutive homers on Opening Day since Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and Steve Kemp (not a Hall of Famer) did so on April 5, 1983, at Seattle.

Just in case you were keeping track of such things.

Mid 2nd, Yankees 2-0: We pointed out some of the horrid numbers Red Sox hitters have against CC Sabathia in a story on Mike Cameron. Well, not to make you feel any worse about the matchup on the mound, but several Yankees have enjoyed facing Josh Beckett over the years (2003 withstanding). Jorge Posada is one such player and he gets the scoring started with a drive off Pesky's Pole.

It was a fastball that Josh Beckett grooved belt-high and Posada knocked it into the screen aside the pole.

Posada is now hitting .344 (11-for-32) lifetime against Beckett.

Not to be outdone, Curtis Granderson follows by knocking another fastball over the Sox bullpen for a home run in his first Yankees at-bat.

Two more singles by Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner bring on the first groans, just 25 minutes into the season, before Derek Jeter grounds to short.

Beckett threw seven pitches in the first inning. He chucked 29 in the second.

End 1st, 0-0: There is so much buildup for this game that it almost begs for a couple of crooked numbers right off the bat. Nothing like a pair of aces to settle things down.

CC Sabathia needs a few more pitches than Josh Beckett's seven to get through the first, but he's out of it in 13. The final out comes when Victor Martinez's dribbler down the line hits the first base bag and pops right to a waiting Mark Teixeira.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Derek Jeter swings at the first pitch of the 2010 season and grounds to short, part of a seven-pitch, 1-2-3 inning for Josh Beckett.

We got to see Mike Cameron tested for the first time as he grabs a Nick Johnson drive on the track. It's not as if Cameron has never played here before, but he did say he would've liked a day or two to take fly balls here before Sunday. No issues on that one.

8:08 p.m.: Quite a mish-mash of pregame entertainment, with the old and the new being featured.

Moments after 5-year-old Joshua Sacco, who apparently has become an internet sensation, gave his Red Sox version of the "Miracle" speech by Herb Brooks, Mr. Red Sox himself, Johnny Pesky, delivered the words everyone loves to hear when he said "Play Ball."

And finally we actually can.

7:58 p.m.: He is sporting the familiar No. 45 and slowly walking in from left field, stopping to hug Alex Rodriguez, much to the dismay of the faithful. Yes, Pedro Martinez is back in Boston and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

7:51 p.m.: That roar many of you heard moments ago, at least those of you in the Boston area, was from the two F-16s that flew over.

I was in the dining room stuffing in a salad but the place completely shook. We have been warned multiple times of the pyrotechnics display that will occur during the national anthem so be on the lookout for that as well.

We are now getting the intros on the field for the Sox. Mike Lowell has easily gotten the largest ovation yet. Must feel good to him, especially since he's not in the lineup.

7:02 p.m.: We have no official word yet, but there are reports that it will be Pedro Martinez to throw out the first pitch. The place will explode, for sure.

6:20 p.m.: As we watch the Red Sox finish batting practice while the Yankees stretch along the third-base line, here are a few news items from Sox camp.

– Manager Terry Francona said that he is not dead set on this being the lineup going forward, particularly the Ortiz-Beltre-Drew sequence. "We'll see," he said.

– Daisuke Matsuzaka will stay with the team for now and pitch April 10 in Pawtucket. Boof Bonser will go two days earlier in the PawSox' opener.

– Francona does not have a set plan as to when he will use Jason Varitek. He needs to balance keeping the starters sharp amid all the off days early in the season and getting playing time for guys like Varitek.

– On Josh Beckett, Francona had this to say, which seemed to sum it up well: "A good guy to give the ball to."

By the way, there is a tent covering the door to the Green Monster scoreboard (the one Manny used to go pee) and there is speculation as to who will emerge and possibly throw out the first pitch. Any guesses?

5:30 p.m.: Here is a quick glance at the Yankees lineup along with a few tidbits from the goings on at the park.

Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Johnson, DH
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardener, LF

Pitching, of course, is CC Sabathia, who was seen strolling the Yankees clubhouse looking for some sneakers with a bit of a scowl. On the other end of things we saw Josh Beckett sitting cross-legged, watching the TV and sipping a soda. Whatever works.

We will have some stories coming your way in a bit on Mike Cameron, who spoke at length about how wild his day has been, and Dr. Dre. That's right, Dr. Dre has made an appearance at the park and we'll tell you why.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona just met with reporters in an overcrowded interview room and talked about his excitement for Opening Day. He said he got here early this morning hoping to work out and get into things slowly. Instead he "ate two meals" and has seen the anxiety build. We will provide a little more from him in a bit.

3:30 p.m.: We are just getting settled here at Fenway and the place, as you can imagine, is already alive, almost five hours before the first pitch.

In addition to NESN and ESPN there are two other international TV stations carrying this one and seemingly a few others working pregame spots, so the field is littered with people setting up.

A mob was outside the Red Sox players parking lot hoping for a glimpse of their favorites. A blimp was already high above doing the rounds above a sun-splashed Fenway Park. There are also a few guys playing soccer in the outfield, for whatever that's worth.

We're off to the clubhouse and then to hear from the managers in a little bit. Strap in for what figures to be an electric night.

Here is the lineup for the Red Sox as they begin their 110th season:

Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS

8:30 a.m.: The 2010 Major League Baseball season starts at Fenway Park when the Red Sox host the New York Yankees in a much-anticipated opener under the lights.

Josh Beckett opposes Yankees lefty CC Sabathia in a terrific matchup of aces, and several new Red Sox players will be introduced to the rivalry.

Boston has won 10 of its last 15 openers at home and its last three openers against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

After a host of pregame festivities, the first pitch will come out of Beckett's hand at some point after 8 p.m. and we will follow all the action for you right here.

Buckle up, baseball fans. The ride begins tonight.

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