On a night that featured Fenway Park’s first sellout crowd since September of 2019 and saw an emotional Dustin Pedroia receive a sendoff that Red Sox legends are accustomed to, the team on the field didn’t disappoint.
The Red Sox carved out a 5-3 win Friday against the rival Yankees. It was stamped by a Christian Vázquez RBI single in the eighth, giving the Sox their final run of the contest and much-needed breathing room. Matt Barnes worked around two singles to begin the ninth inning to record his 16th save of the season.
After winning just one game in their 10 meetings last season, the Sox have won their first four contests of 2021 against the Yankees. Despite the victory, much of the postgame talk was about Pedroia.
“I know it’s been a while since he’s watched a major league game from the stands,” Bogaerts said. “So it was nice to win the first game at home. Always great to start the series off on a good note and we should come here again tomorrow with the same hunger.”
The Red Sox jumped on Yankee starter Domingo Germán in the first. Bogaerts roped a double that scored Michael Chavis and Alex Verdugo. Hunter Renfroe’s double two batters later scored Bogaerts to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Red Sox starter Martín Pérez retired the side in order in the first but was snakebitten in the second inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Gio Urshela’s grounder to Bogaerts forced the Sox shortstop to move slightly to his right. It appeared as if Bogaerts had a chance at a force play at second but he bounced the throw, loading the bases. Pérez struck out Miguel Andujar for the second out of the inning before a Clint Frazier walk forced in a run. DJ LeMahieu then sliced a two-run single down the right-field line to tie it at 3.
That didn’t last long, however, with Renfroe’s sacrifice fly to center fielder Aaron Judge putting the Sox ahead by a run after three innings.
The Yankees threatened in the fourth. Urshela doubled to begin the inning. Andujar then singled through the right side. But Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin helped the Sox when he sent Urshela home. Renfroe cut down Urshela on a throw to Vázquez straddling the plate.
Sox manager Alex Cora aggressively utilized his bullpen. After Frazier flied out, Pérez’s night was over after just 3⅔ inning. The top of the Yankees order was due up, and Hirokazu Sawamura took over.
“I wanted to Martín to go as long as possible but with all those righties it just felt like it was time to go somewhere else,” Cora said.
Though Pérez didn’t allow an earned run, it was a laborious outing for the lefthander, who for the fifth time this year lasted less than four innings in a start.
He threw 67 pitches, striking out three and walking two. He drew just four swings and misses, none of which came on his two-seamer or four-seamer. Sawamura navigated his way through 1⅓ innings of scoreless ball and Garrett Whitlock followed that with two scoreless innings of his own.
“We have to win as a group,” Pérez said regarding his early hook. “And I think we did today. So I did my job and then we called the bullpen and they finished it off. So, I think it’s not just one player.”
The Red Sox bullpen threw 5⅓ innings, allowing just three hits, one walk, and striking out seven.
Fenway returned to some sense of normalcy with 36,869 fans in attendance. Within that normalcy was some closure for Pedroia.
And with the Yankees threatening and LeMahieu at the plate, the Sox turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the contest, much like Pedroia throughout his career.
“The fact that we ended with a 6-4-3 double play, it was meant to be,” Cora said. “The whole thing was amazing.”
- ‘It means the world to me to be a Red Sox:’ Dustin Pedroia gets fitting farewell at Fenway
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