So much for being defensive-minded, eh Red Sox?
Take your pick from any of the adjectives you’d like that people used to describe the 2010 Red Sox. New-look, reinvented, refocused – whatever.
Runs weren’t hard to come by in the Sox’s 9-7 win over the Yankees on opening night Sunday.
After C.C. Sabathia gave up two runs through 5 1/3 innings, Boston hit its stride, torching the Yankee bullpen for seven runs to take the game.
This game had just about everything a season opener could handle.
Curtis Granderson, the centerpiece of New York’s off-season acquisitions, homered in his first at-bat in the second inning. The Yankees held a commanding lead, and the grumbles of a much weaker Boston offense than usual began to circumvent Fenway Park.
Beginning in the bottom of the fifth inning, Boston proved that while the make-up might be different, they are still the same old Sox.
In typical Sox fashion, Boston erased a four-run deficit over two innings to even the score at five runs apiece. If that was not enough, the Yankees responded with two runs in the seventh inning.
*Pause – during the seventh-inning stretch, Boston had a “very special” guest sing God Bless America. Steven Tyler, the lead singer for Aerosmith, wailed the song like someone was holding an electric leash around his crotch.
In what will surely soon be YouTube famous, Tyler clearly glanced off-camera for every next line of the song. All the while, he was quite affectionate with what I can only hope is his 18-year-old (at least) daughter, who I wouldn’t argue about if Maxim gave her a call.
In recap, so far we have: Red Sox comeback turned choke, followed by a screeching, drunken rendition of God Bless America with a rather tasty brunette just off-center in the frame.
Back to the game…
Boston’s favorite son and 2007 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia made chop suey of a Chan Ho Park change-up, blasting a 2-run shot over the Green Monster to tie the game.
The runner he drove in was Marco Scutaro, who has assumed the shortstop duties for the Sox in 2010, in spite of the fact the position seems to come with less job security than teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Joe Girardi then inserted Damaso Marte on the mound, which led to one wild pitch and another passed ball. That allowed Boston’s Michelin Man, Kevin Youkilis, to advance to home easily.
An inning after the debacle that was Tyler’s act, whoever schedules the musicians at Fenway got it right when Neil Diamond himself led Sox Nation in singing Sweet Caroline.
With the comeback in full swing and the moist crowd swaying away to the old Sox classic, it felt good to be a Sox fan again.
Another Pedroia RBI in the eighth inning should have sealed the deal.
The only thing left was Jonathan Papelbon to close the game with a save. Sox fans had not forgotten his destructive, three-run catastrophe in game three of the ALDS last year against the Angels.
It was the first time he ever allowed a run in the postseason, and Sox fans needed to see a rejuvenated Papelbon to know everything was okay.
Save for a Jorge Posada single to right field, and Paplebon made quick work of the Yanks in the ninth.
Everything just fit. The night was electric, the mood was spectacular. Everybody in red and white went home happy.
Whoever thought this Red Sox team was different, for better or for worse, think again.
Some of the players may change, but Red Sox spirit never will.