PHILADELPHIA — Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino swapped text messages with Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels in the days leading up to Monday's season opener. The two were teammates in Philadelphia for seven years and never faced each other before.
"I asked him not to embarrass me in my first at-bat," Victorino said. "He laughed it off and said he would do his best."
For Victorino, the game was one he looked forward to for months. It was his first time playing at Citizens Bank Park since the Phillies traded him to the Dodgers in 2012. He returned with the Red Sox in 2013 but was injured and did not play.
The reunion went his way. In a game the Red Sox won, 8-0, Victorino was 0 for 3 but drew two walks, stole a base, and made a highlight defense play.
When Victorino came to the plate in the second inning, Hamels showed his professionalism by asking for a new ball and stepping off the mound so the sellout crowd could cheer for a few extra seconds. Victorino tipped his helmet to the fans.
"A special moment and that meant a lot to me," said Victorino, who was a popular player in Philadelphia. "I'm with the Red Sox now but that was great. I have a lot of great memories in this city."
Victorino drew a walk and then advanced to second when Hamels was called for a balk on a pickoff move.
Victorino stole third base but was stranded. The 34-year-old looked like his energetic self despite coming off season-ending back surgery.
In the fifth inning, Victorino made a nice running catch in the gap before crashing into the scoreboard. The crowd cheered him again.
"That felt good. I came off that wall with no ill-effects. That could be because the adrenaline is still high. But I know how to play that outfield a little bit," Victorino said.
Hamels entered the day 4-0 with a 1.97 earned run average in five career starts against the Red Sox. He allowed four runs over five innings.
Hamels threw 100 pitches and Victorino saw 12 pitches in his two at-bats against the lefty.
"Cole wasn't himself today," Victorino said. "Trust me, I've seen what he can do."
Kelly, Wright at work
Joe Kelly and Steven Wright pitched in a minor league intrasquad game at the team's complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Kelly threw five innings and 78 pitches, with Wright going six innings and 95 pitches.
One of the righthanders will start against the Yankees Saturday, and based on the pitch count, that is more likely to be Wright. The Red Sox had their other starters get over 90 pitches in spring training.
"It's still a possibility [Kelly could start], but ideally like to see him get to 95," manager John Farrell said.
Kelly is on the disabled list with a strained biceps. He and Wright were to join the team Monday night.
Only the beginning
The Red Sox are 56-58-1 on Opening Day. They have won six of their last 10 . . . Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez were the first Red Sox players to hit two home runs on Opening Day since Carlton Fisk in 1973 against the Yankees . . . Pedroia is one of only two second basemen in major league history to hit two home runs on Opening Day. Arizona's Felipe Lopez was the first in 2009 . . . The Red Sox are 32-22 against the Phillies in interleague play.
Pablo Sandoval was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in his first game with the Red Sox. He grounded to second base twice . . . David Ortiz was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He started at first base and played six uneventful innings in the field. Farrell said before the game he wasn't sure which of the final two games of the series Ortiz would start. Mike Napoli replaced Ortiz in the field in the seventh inning. Napoli walked and scored in the ninth inning.
Young man’s game
At 22, Mookie Betts was the youngest Opening Day leadoff hitter for the Red Sox since 21-year-old Rico Petrocelli in 1965 and the youngest Opening Day center fielder since 19-year-old Tony Conigliaro in 1964. He was the youngest Red Sox player to homer on Opening Day since Conigliaro in 1965 against the Washington Senators . . . Red Sox (and Globe) principal owner John Henry was on the field for batting practice along with team chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino, and chief operating officer Sam Kennedy . . . It was 71 degrees at first pitch. Colder temperatures and rain are forecast for the final two games of the series.