It took them seven games, but the Red Sox have emerged from their home opener against the New York Yankees with a 9-6 victory.
John Lackey, getting the start for the Red Sox, did not make it seem like a likely outcome, however. After giving up two runs in the first, it just seemed like more of the same. A solo homer by Dustin Pedroia brought the Sox back within one, but as he would do in every remaining inning, John Lackey let the Yankees get back up by two on a two-out double from Brett Gardner.
Finally, though, in the bottom of the second, the Red Sox lineup woke up. After being held to just 14 runs in the first six games of the season, the Sox started the inning with three straight hits, scored on a groundout, and then finished with three more hits surrounding a Kevin Youkilis walk. They may have added more, but Youkilis found himself caught in a rundown as Adrian Gonzalez scored the fifth run of the inning, giving the Sox a 6-3 lead.
Slowly, though, that lead evaporated, thanks to the poor pitching of John Lackey. Allowing a run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings--the last one from a leadoff homer by Alex Rodriguez--Lackey allowed the Yankees to tie it up at six-a-piece halfway through the game.
The Red Sox were not about to let that last for long. Going back to work in the bottom of the inning, Kevin Youkilis walked with one out and then advanced to third when Mark Teixeira was eaten up by a David Ortiz grounder. This error kept the Sox alive after a J.D. Drew flyout, giving of all people Jarrod Saltalamacchia an opportunity he took advantage of, doubling off the wall to give the Sox their seventh run and the lead.
After Alfredo Aceves and Bobby Jenks provided the team with their first scoreless innings of the night, the Sox built their lead in the seventh starting off in a most unusual manner as Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a surprise bunt. The self-described "slowest guy you'll find" dropped one to third base and, with the shift on, Alex Rodriguez was forced to make a desperation heave to first, which sailed over Mark Teixeira's head well after Gonzalez had arrived safely at the bag.
With Lefties David Ortiz and J.D. Drew due up, the Yankees called on southpaw Boone Logan to get a pair of outs. He did so, but only after giving up a double to Ortiz, a single to Drew, and a 9-6 lead to the Red Sox.
Still, though, Sox fans had cause for concern. With Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon both looking mediocre in their first outings, anything could happen with two more innings to go. But the Sox got a pleasant surprise: two clean, even dominant innings. Daniel Bard was impressive enough, picking up a strikeout and two ground balls in the eighth, but it was Jonathan Papelbon that really impressed, striking out both Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter before inducing a lazy fly ball to finally give the Red Sox a win.