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Clay Buchholz pitched 7 strong innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of Hiroki Kuroda‘s early exit to beat the New York Yankees, 7-4. According to the Associated Press, the second straight win in the Bronx marks the first 2-0 start for the Red Sox since 1999.
For all the doubters who wondered whether the Red Sox did enough during the offseason to improve over the last two disappointing campaigns, the Red Sox are now the only team in the AL East on pace for a perfect 162-0 season. Might as well pop some champagne and hoist the division title banner now!
Buchholz overcame last year’s struggles against the Yankees (0-2, 15.26 ERA, 8 HRs in just 7.2 innings pitched) to allow just one run – a fourth inning solo shot by Travis Hafner – over his 7 innings of work. He scattered six hits total while striking out four.
Boston would tack on another run in the second. Shane Victorino led off with a scorching single up the middle that Kuroda instinctively reached for with his pitching hand. After catching his finger on a cold night in New York, Kuroda proceeded to hit Jackie Bradley, Jr., retire Jose Iglesias on a groundout, walk Jacoby Ellsbury, and hit Nava with the bases loaded. He was then replaced by Cody Eppley out of the Yankees bullpen due to his injured finger.
The Red Sox broke the game open one inning later with four runs in the third. Saltalamacchia singled again and advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting him in scoring position for Victorino’s RBI single. Bradley followed up a stolen base by Victorino with his first hit in the major leagues, an RBI single to center. Ellsbury drove in two more with a single of his own after a double by Iglesias. Pedroia would cap the scoring for the Red Sox with an RBI groundout in the sixth.
Vernon Wells made the game interesting again (and provided the final scoring margin) in the eighth inning with a three-run home run off Alfredo Aceves, who came on in relief of Andrew Miller. Miller was charged with one run after hitting Ben Francisco (pinch hitting for Ichiro Suzuki) to lead off the inning, then retiring Robinson Cano on a line drive to center.
Joel Hanrahan entered in the ninth inning to record his first save as a member of the Red Sox, retiring three in a row after a lead-off single by Eduardo Nunez.
The Red Sox will look to sweep their season-opening series against the Yankees with a win on Thursday night. Ryan Dempster will make his first start for Boston opposite Andy Pettite. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.