Oh What An Opening Night
Opening Night at Fenway Park featuring arch rivals the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees was supposed to be a cold and uncomfortable early April night. But hot weather and memorable pre-game moments such as five-year-old YouTube sensation Josh Sacco reciting the famous 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks’ speech, and an elated Pedro Martinez making a surprise return to Fenway to throw the ceremonial first pitch to the captain Jason Varitek warmed up the soldout Fenway fans.
Highlight of the game: the offense, led by new third baseman Adrian Beltre’s clutch hitting and Dustin Pedroia’s two-run shot off veteran Chan Ho Park, which led to the Sox coming back to beat the Yankees 9-7 in a game that was supposed to be all about pitching. Both starters Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia gave up five earned. Other notes: Dr. Dre and Nomar (working for ESPN) were in the house. And at long last, the Red Sox got Neil Diamond to come out to Fenway Park, and right field in particular to sing fan favorite “Sweet Caroline” with the Fenway masses in the middle of the eighth inning. The only person seemingly not quite into it (besides me) was Joba Chamberlain, who threw warmup pitches while Diamond performed.
The rest of the three-game series was less successful for Boston, as the Yankees won the next two games. In game two, Jon Lester did what he normally does in April, struggle (four earned runs in five innings pitched). And between games two and three combined, the Sox offense only scored five total runs. John Lackey’s six shutout innings in his Sox regular season debut in game three was Boston’s bright spot for the rest of the series. The low point: new shortstop Marco Scutaro’s costly (first) error with two outs late in game two, which led to the Yankees getting to the Sox bullpen for runs five and six, winning 6-4 in the end.
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